Gourmet hot dogs are a point of pride for Kyatchi chef and co-owner Hide Tozawa, a baseball fanatic who has decorated his Kingfield restaurant with sports paraphernalia and once cooked for Hansin Tigers infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka during his season-long stint with the Twins.
Refusing to cut any corners, Tozawa starts with a snappy all-beef sausage from Peterson Craft Meats, a family-run Wisconsin farm that has specialized in heritage-bred French cattle (a.k.a. Limousin) since the 1970s. A dab of mustard or ketchup would suffice with tube meat this good, but Tozawa piles on the flavor with kooky topping combinations you won’t find anywhere else. The House Dog is crowned with shishito peppers and yuzu mayo. The strange but satisfying Yakisoba Dog, pictured above, is blanketed with stir-fried soba noodles, onion, red ginger, and eggy Kewpie-style mayo.
If Tozawa’s artisanal frankfurters are too Frankenstein for your taste, swing by Kyatchi’s generous happy hour — 4 to 6 p.m. daily at its Minneapolis flagship and new St. Paul location — for some of the best sushi deals in town. You won’t find any Bluefin tuna on the menu because of Tozawa’s commitment to using sustainable seafood, but $11.50 will get you either a catch-of-the-day maki roll and three pieces of nigiri or a beautiful chirashi bowl with fresh sashimi and seasonal vegetables served over sushi rice. It is, dare we say, a home run.
3758 Nicolett Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 612-236-4429.
308 E. Prince St., Ste. 140, St. Paul, MN; 651-340-5796.