Snack Attack: Hot Dog at Café ArtScience

This snappy sausage will hit a chord with fans of ‘red hot’ franks.

Welcome to our weekly series Snack Attack, where we highlight a sweet treat or savory start you should save room for.


Chef Patrick Campbell's "Red Hots" at Cafe Artscience

Chef Patrick Campbell’s “Red Hots” at Cafe Artscience. / Photo provided

The fireworks ash has settled, but if you’re anything like us, just because the Fourth has passed doesn’t mean your hot dog cravings have subsided. And if nothing will satisfy that hunger except for a succinct snap, it’s time to pay Café ArtScience a visit.

Yes, the science-driven, sensory bistro and innovative cocktail bar. For a hot dog. A Chicago-inspired, New England red hot, to be precise.

Chef Patrick Campbell recently debuted the sausage on both the bar and the late-night menus at Café ArtScience. The frank is wrapped in natural lamb casing, with all-beef filling colored and flavored with plenty of smoked paprika. The experiments began earlier this spring, when Campbell and sous chef Heather Neri were considering ways to use the scraps trimmed from portions of Café ArtScience’s regular menu flatiron steak.

“I gave her a base recipe, and she absolutely killed it. She’s our sausage connoisseur,” Campbell says.

On the current menu, those skills can also be tasted in Café ArtScience’s Vermont quail entrée, served with a traditional boudin blanc, and the grilled Colorado lamb leg, plated with slices of merguez. The team makes various other charcuterie, too, which are also all-day bar offerings and late-night a la carte options.

The red hot is simmered in water, then smoked over applewood in the Café ArtScience kitchen. Once a guest orders one, the frank is grilled over coals, then nestled into a New England-style split-top bun and topped with chopped white onion and spicy Dijon mustard. It’s inspired by Campbell’s childhood trips to his mother’s native Illinois, where Midwesterners look for that quintessential “snap.”

“I really love the texture of the snap, and thought the recipe was going to work out for our purpose,” he says.

That means it’s an inexpensive, and fun, option, which appeals to an industry crowd Café ArtScience is making an effort to reach with the Monday-Wednesday late-night specials, launched in early May. At $3 apiece, the CAS hot dog is the perfect snack.

But despite the “snap,” Campbell says don’t order it expecting a Chicago-style ’dog. “It’s not ‘dragged through the garden,’ as [Chicagoans] would say.”

Café ArtScience, 650 E. Kendall St., Cambridge, 857-999-2193, cafeartscience.com.