The hot dog is one of the most American of foods. But in the hands of Jose “Chepe” Villamil, mastermind behind Cheffini’s, it takes on serious international flair.
Many of us got our first taste of Cheffini’s outside the Beat, from the hot dog cart run by Chepe’s cohort, Fabian Arias. The cart—which thankfully still exists for the late-night drunk partiers of Fremont East—features a number of oddly delicious condiments and toppings, from crushed potato chips to a standout pineapple sauce. At the new Cheffini’s at Downtown Container Park, there are five new dogs on the menu, each influenced by a different part of the world. Among them:
The Panchero ($6.99) takes us to South America. The pop here comes from chimichurri, the Argentinean olive oil-based green sauce heavy on parsley and garlic. Caramelized onions and red pepper aioli are decadent complements, topped off with grilled chorizo bits.
El Mexicano ($6.99) is our No. 1 pick and might be the best hot dog in the city. This is an elevated Mexican-style street hot dog, a frank wrapped in bacon and covered with all types of tastiness—onions, tomatoes, green sauce, garlic aioli and cherry pepper relish. Chipotle guava sauce adds that perfect balance of sweetness and creamy avocados top it off right. There’s a lot going on here, and it all works in delicious harmony.
The Grandfather ($8.99) is an Asian-inspired gut bomb, a grilled dog topped with pork belly, red peppers, caramelized onions, potato chips, spicy mayo, basil aioli, pickled mango, and, of course, a fried quail egg. Break the yolk and let it envelope everything with just a little more richness.
Cheffini’s Container Park, 702-527-5799. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.