If there is one food that says "Chicago," it's hot dogs. I've never been one to get all hyped up and excited about hot dogs; I like them and eat them at baseball games and back-yard BBQs. If you're like me and looking for something more than an Oscar Mayer weiner on a bun, please go and experience Franks. I caution though to not fall in the trap of looking at the menu as "dogs," but truly gourmet dishes.
The first thing I noticed inside of Franks was the friendly staff (especially Chef Doren) and inviting decor. The menu is extensive and fascinating. You can choose from classic dawgs, dawgs gone wild, dawgs gone global, or haute dawgs. Some of the meats are prepared in house, and noted on the menu, while others are bought locally but in consultation with Franks. You can't go wrong either way, all the meats I'm sure are fantastic.
For my meal I chose a duck-based "dawg" served with pineapple chutney, carrots, cilantro and other flavors I can't remember. Erica prefers simpler dogs and opted for the Cheese Head: Sheboygan, caramelized onions, grilled portabellos and smoked gouda. We ordered a side of cheesy fries for good measure.
The food quality here is the real deal. Chef Doren is clearly talented and chooses to display this on buns instead of plates. It's a great concept and well executed. With a patio and a BYOB option, I can see this being a great date place, and something to return to often with such a diverse menu. The pricing could turn some people off ($20 for two dogs and fries), but comparable to similar venues and par for the course. If you can just accept that gourmet food CAN be served on a bun, every dollar is justified. I highly recommend checking out the Dawgs and I know I'll go back to see what other interesting flavors are crafted a la bun.