Dining Out Magazine

Hotdogs Have Landed on Hamra Street: HD&B; is Expending

By Nogarlicnoonions @nogarlicnoonion
Rating: 75/100

Welcoming:8/10

Menu Choices: 8/10

Food Presentation: 7/10

Food Temperature: 8/10

Food Taste: 11/20

Service: 8/10

Ambiance/Music: 8/10

Architecture/Interior: 9/10

Air Quality: 8/10

Total: 75/100

More about: Hotdog & Beyond HamraHave you ever felt like eating a hotdog somewhere in Lebanon, but don’t know where to go… Hotdog joints have boomed lately, but not a dine-in place, rather hotdog trucks like Freddy’s, Friends and Ron & Ray’s available in several places around Lebanon.  This is not until HD&B opened its doors in Le Mall Dbayeh a couple of month ago. The management of HD&B had no experience in the restaurant industry but they have proved to achieve what others are still struggling to do for years now.
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After reviewing Hotdog & Beyond last October and giving all my comments about this new born baby, it was time to pass by their newest branch located at the end of Hamra street, next to Zaatar W Zeit and Classic Burger Joint. I must admit that a lot has improved since their opening. All my previous comments were taken into consideration. I urge you to try it and discover for yourself.
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  • Very high ceiling that is relaxing to the mind
  • Concrete grey and polished flooring
  • Reddish ambiance of neon lights and printed materials
  • A bar build under the stairs with their individual industrial-style metallic stools
  • Bricks covering all the walls and glazed in a special way never seen before in Lebanon
  • The signature black chains with the HD&B logo printed in the middle
  • Neon lights everywhere on the walls with red flashing effect and another in a rainbow coloring
  • A welcoming bar overviewing the open kitchen
  • Go up on the first floor where the toilets are and enjoy a cozier space of two tables with their leather sofas
  • I’m in love with the wood tables and the relaxing chairs
  • An american diner feel that is beautifully designed and finished

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The pluses this diner offers:
  • Bigger hotdogs compared to the competition
  • Special burger and hotdog bread produced especially for HD&B by the famous Prunelle.
  • A special mayonnaise they use seasoned with herbs
  • iPads are distributed to all tables for free surfing and games playing
  • Hotdog and beyond offers for the first time in Lebanon a free coffee refill with a free internet access
  • The presentation of the dogs is nice: A simple hotdog in the middle with the add-on slices around, covered with a thin layer of cheese and a zigzag mayonnaise or ketchup line.
  • I like the music, soothing and relaxing
  • The peanuts are very enjoyable, served in a red metallic bowl
The improvements are clear…
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The minuses and the needed fixes:
  • Pictures need to be added to the menu the soonest. Come on guys! We are in Lebanon, a country where everybody is in a rush and no one feels like reading. “I need to see to be able to choose”. I need to see a beautiful picture that will stimulate my fives senses. Reconsider this point! URGENTLY!
  • A new, thicker and more professional menu is a must. This cheap thin piece of red paper is not up to your standards.

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We ordered:
  • Chef salad (fresh iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, black olives, tomatoes, boiled egg, ham & cheese, served with mayo dressing)
  • Swiss Mushroom Burger (Grilled beef patty, fresh mushrooms, lettuce, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions & Swiss sauce)
  • Original Hotdog (Ketchup, mustard, mayo, onions, relish, chips& melted cheddar cheese)
  • Mushroom Swiss Hotdog (Grilled mushroom, Swiss cheese & Swiss sauce)

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The food:
  • It all started by the salad that is generous and fresh. Thick pieces of crunchy French lettuce, topped with thin layers of a boiled egg, tomatoes cut in cubes, a couple of cucumber slices and some black olives. A simple yet tasty mix I liked, considering I rarely order salads.
  • The original hot dog competes with Freddy’s the street sandwicheria but surely using higher-end ingredients and a softer feel.
  • Finally a thicker meat (160g) and a tastier burger. But something’s missing here. A thinner bread maybe? A juicier meat? Thinner tomatoes?
  • The mozzarella burger should be a competitor to the SpielMozzarella of Crepaway but HD&D’s needs a lot more of fine tuning. I would definitely remove the tomato and some fluffy un-needed bread, adding more juice to the meat for the bread to absorb it and becoming softer.
The quality is even, over than premium, the service is good, the ingredients used are extraordinary… But all of this is not enough… The food misses a magical spell, a spiritual feel.
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Desserts: the improvement is 300% better:
  • Nutella individual packages served with the waffle that is addictive
  • The brownie with its dark chocolate and crunchy bits of nuts are very tasty. I would only make it harder. It’s too watery, for a brownie.
  • The cheese cake provided by one of the best pastry shops in town (Oslo) is delicious even though it’s a cheese cake without enough biscuit. A cheese cake has to have a thick layered crust of biscuit under the cheese: Sometimes creativity has a limit! Do not mess with traditions.
Bravo: the details below deserve a minute:
  • I love the stainless knife and its sharp blades
  • The hotdog sandwich bread is premium. A delicious soft melting piece of bread.
  • The brownie improvement with its crunchy nuts and ice cream scoop deserves an applause
  • The waffle is purely addictive
  • I really loved their coleslaw salad: Thin slices of cabbage with a tiny bit of sweetness and a hint of mayonnaise. Not heavy, not watery and super tasty
  • My favorite today is the mushroom n Swiss hotdog

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My suggestions:
  • Work more on the “original” hot dog sandwich. It doesn’t have what makes me close my eyes while eating it like at Freddy’s. The feel of bread is unpleasant
  • Remove the tomato from the mozzarella burger: imperatively. It has nothing to do in here.
  • The cheese cake needs a thicker biscuit crust layer
  • Use french fries with their original skin: un-pealed. They fit better with hotdogs and burgers. They are crispier and look nicer
  • The burger meat should be bigger to fit exactly the size of the bun: Chewing the corners of bread and ketchup is not that nice, right?
Hotdog & Beyond provides delivery only at their Hamra branch if you feel like ordering home.PS: As suggested by NGNO in a previous review, new appetizers will soon be added to the menu, including homemade chicken strips made from pure chicken breast as well as adding a new kids menu for dine in clients.I really believe in this place and think it can become even better… Soon… See you in their third branch next month.
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