Hank’s Lobster Dog Is Doggone Good

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - May 18, 2011
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Hank adaniya with a lobster dog. Photo from Jo McGarry

If you can wait until Friday, make a note to head over to the coral Street location of Hank’s Haute Dogs for lunch and take this tip with you: Go early (11:30 a.m.) or late (after 2 p.m.). Whatever you do, don’t go during peak lunch hour or you may be trampled in the rush to order Friday’s special, the lobster dog. The decadent, deep fried lobster roll served with a garlic aioli, furikake relish and pickled takuan radish, is one of the most popular hot dogs on a menu that’s filled with exotic combinations.

And it came about almost by accident.

“A good friend of mine asked me to deep fry the lobster sausage we made,” says Hank adaniya. “of course I thought he was crazy.”

But crazy culinary ideas have always been Hank’s thing. and since closing Trio, his mecca of fine dining in chicago, hot dogs have provided the inspirational spark that fuels his passion for food.

“It’s a fun, creative outlet for me,” he says of his haute dog joint just off Ala Moana Boulevard, and a smaller version in Waikiki.

Both have been popular since opening day, but after Guy Fieri and the Food Network rolled into town last year to film Diners Drive Ins and Dives, things have become as crazy as the restaurant’s daily specials.

“I thought Guy was exaggerating a little when he said that most small businesses saw an increase of about 100 percent after the show started to air,” says Hank, “but he wasn’t.”

Since being featured - along with five other classic oahu restaurants - business has been booming. National television exposure has made sure this little hot dog stand is a must-find destination for many of the millions of viewers who watch the show. For Hank, that means the opportunity to expand and the chance to keep those creative juices flowing.

But I’ve been wondering when Hank would be drawn back into the world of fine dining - it’s a question I ask him every time we talk. Usually he laughs.

“Right now I’m able to funnel all of that energy and excitement - the kind of energy we had at Trio - into the dogs,” he says with a grin. “and hot dogs can be serious fun without having to compete in that four-star dining world.”

But surely there’s another cutting edge restaurant waiting to bust out and give our fine dining scene the kind of excitement it needs right now? again, a laugh.

“Soon, soon,” he says in an effort, I’m sure, to placate me. “There are enough gourmands here, enough oenophiles, and definitely a lot of underexposed talent,” he says. “I see great things ahead for the Hawaii culinary scene.”

And with that he takes a bite of his lobster dog and pauses to enjoy.

“I haven’t had one of these things in a while,” he says with a smile. “Damn, they’re good!”

Happy eating!

To hear an interview with Hank Adaniya, go to tabletalkhawaii.com. For daily specials: hankshautedogs.com.

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