Soho, NY-- we walked out of Los Perros Locos feeling dirty. Perhaps it was from the bright neon sign spewing an obscenity of pink all about, or maybe it was the strangely aphrodisiastic Mas Perfecto we tried--a hot dog blending NYC, Colombia, and just enough old school Miami. Whatever it was, we found ourselves wanting to watch, on VHS, the younger and more svelte Al Pacino introducing us all to his little friend. Yeah, that good kind of dirty.
Our tray of los perros came in three, the Chimi-Churi-Chori, Amerro-Perro, and the sexy, aptly-named Mas Perfecto. Tied for second, the 3 C’s (Chorizo, grilled Provoleta, homemade Chimichurri, Aji Panca aioli w/ crushed potato chips) and Amerro-Perro (cocoa-infused beef chili, Vermont cheddar, chipotle kraut, ChipZana sauce w/ crushed Fritos) were delicious – hearty, flavorful, and juicy in all the right spots. But it was the Mas Perfecto that hit all the spots, including ones we never knew we had (or wanted).
Sweet Hawaiian bun, toasted and smothered in creamy butter with a cast of supporting toppings (apple chipotle slaw, quail eggs, & deep fried bacon) that did little to disturb the sweet, smoky profile of the all beef hot dog. The slaw was fruity and light, with just enough brightness to cut through the hearty bacon and liquid gold oozing from the soft-boiled quail egg. It was full of bold, unadulterated flavors that were at once delicate yet decadently naughty.
Enter Alex Mitow, owner of Los Perros Locos, donning well-worn Chucks, a graffiti’d hat, and a home-made Batman T-Shirt he bought from some guy down that dark alley who pieced it together from some kid’s bedsheets. Alex hits a few buttons on the speakers, turning down De La Soul playing loudly, and we instantly stop bopping our heads and take our eyes off the mural on the walls.
“You feelin’ that graffiti?” he asks. “It was done by local street artists 2ESAE and SKI, the guys behind UR New York.." We get into talking about his hot-dog creations, and he says, "It’s a great feeling when you combine disgusting [on their own] things into something that tastes great.” The typical Colombian hot dog is topped with pineapple, potato chips and mayo, but what makes them unique here is the unlikely melding of additional flavors that results in something that can only be described as ethereal.
He recalls a trip to Asia where he spent three months eating his way throughout the continent, “fermented shrimp paste, lemongrass root, stuff that when eaten alone taste horrible, but go well together.” That’s what he commissioned Chef James van Girish to do, to create a synergy of flavors that not only push the envelope, but together provoke the taste buds into experiencing each of the five basic tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. “When a customer walks in," Alex says, "I want them to feel horny, not just from the hot dogs, but from knowing that our product encompasses multiple dimensions - service, feeling, interaction with the staff, and of course the actual taste of the food.”
They’re busiest at night, and with the plethora of bars scattered throughout Soho, we're not surprised. "The food has to taste good when you’re drunk, because [you’re uninhibited and] the truth comes out,” Alex says. Los Perros Locos caters to the Lower East Side, and calls 201 Allen Street home. When you're hankering for a taste of Colombia meets Miami meets NYC well into the night, drop by with your neon-laced shades and you'll blend right in (literally).