Versus: Corn Dogs Unleashed

As carnival season fast approaches and our taste buds begin to salivate for deep fried treats, we found a traditional fairground staple in Seattle that doesn't require admission (or a Saint's patience for wayward children). We focused specifically on corn dogs and the bars that serve them year-round. After all, what's a better pairing for a corn dog than a cold brew? Picking the two contenders was the easy part; deciding the winner was a different story. Ladies and gentleman, we present you with the corn dog challenge: Unicorn vs. Quarter Lounge.

Unicorn Dog

1118 E. Pike St., 325-6492

What else do you serve at a circus themed hipster bar? Chef Josh Nebe, formerly of Steelhead Diner and Barrio, designed the Big Tent menu most known for its gourmet corn dogs. There's the Original Corndog ($3), but there's also the Corndog Madame ($9) slathered in b├ęchamel, Swiss cheese and a sunnyside-up egg.; a Corndog Taco ($7) with refried beans, cotija cheese, onion and cilantro; and an Andouille Corndog Po' Boy served NOLA style with Frank's redhot sauce aioli. But the winning dog, in our opinion, is the Unicorn Dog ($5.50) sliced open and stuffed with grilled onions, cream cheese and Sriracha. Each corn dog is hand-dipped in a homemade batter made from flour, corn flour, fresh corn, eggs, buttermilk, butter and the unusual addition of brown sugar, which makes these corndogs a bit sweeter than the more traditional dogs. These stuffed snacks are nearly impossible to pick up and eat -- they perform better with a knife-and-fork.

Only 8 quarters at the Quarter Lounge
Quarter Lounge

909 Madison St., 332-0772

This no-frills bar across the street from the Sorrento Hotel couldn't be more opposite from Unicorn. In fact, corn dogs are just about the only thing they have in common, besides booze. Ironically, you would expect the rough-and-tumble QL to shun corn dogs for a less novel bar snack. But if you think about it, what's a better drunk food than fried meat on a stick? They come hand-dipped to order and arrive at your table sizzling hot with a side of yellow mustard and ketchup -- nothing fancy. They're surprisingly comforting and satisfying and only $2. Pair it with a $2.50 Oly and you've got yourself a meal.

Verdict: If you want a more traditional fairground corndog, Quarter Lounge is where your sense of nostalgia will be fulfilled. But any corndog that comes stuffed with savory toppings and drizzled with spicy sauces is where we'll be running to when our stomach growls for a deep-fried wiener.

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