Oh, the dangers of nostalgia.
It has the power to make things best left in the past (exes, frosted tips, Charlie Sheen's career) look worthy of another go. Food is an especially vulnerable subject, and we've found that the best flavors of our youth are rarely as good as we remember.
Until now: Two new lunch-hour operations have bridged the gap between past and present by updating our favorite childhood staples to meet our grown-up palates.
The roving Brooklyn Flea favorite AsiaDog has planted roots in a Nolita storefront. Finally cooking in an actual kitchen, the team added a permanent rotation of corn dogs to the menu. We were particularly enamored with the lemongrass corn dog ($6), a weekly special in which the fragrant stalk and spicy jalapeño infused the delicate cornmeal-based batter. And the Vinh ($4.50) is a mash-up of one-handed eating supremacy: The hot dog channels banh mi, topped with cucumber, pâté, cilantro and carrots.
In Midtown, the just-opened Melt Shop is a study in the age-old relationship of heat, cheese and bread. Of the many iterations, we're unabashedly nostalgic for the fried-chicken grilled cheese ($9), in which pieces of crisp bird, a gloss of melted pepper Jack cheese and creamy piquant slaw meet between two slices of white bread.
They don't make them like they used to...thank goodness.