by Mike Sula
No, I didn't die and get damned to the Taste of Hell but the pictured abomination would fit right in there. It's the french fry sandwich at Polk & Western Hot Dogs.
There, P&W's otherwise crispy, shoestring fries are piled on an Italian beef bun, dipped in the gravy, smothered with precisely two ladles of nacho cheese sauce (or a mozzarella option), and finally topped with hot giardiniera. This ranks as one of the slimiest, most tragic train wrecks of a sandwich I've ever gambled on, but my buddy PIGMON, who was delirious with hunger at the point of sale and obviously unable to make a clear judgment, dubbed it a "delicious hunk of shit."
It was only after his half was consumed that we started to realize Polk & Western, which is frequently mentioned as one of the oldest operating hot dogs stands in the city, and which has ancestral ties to the rightfully legendary Gene's & Jude's, is a most miserly example of the form. PIGMON had trouble restraining his outrage at the soda-pricing scheme that charges $1.98 for a 22-ounce cup when for 44 cents less you could buy two 12-ouncers, and get an extra two ounces of RC Cola for your math skills. Want a small cup of water instead? That'll be 25 cents, jerko.
The french fry sandwich, incidentally, costs $3.68, with 65-cent upcharges for cheese and giardiniera, and a mysterious 23-cent "MISC" charge I didn't notice until later. That's for being a sucker, I guess. Add tax and it comes to a whopping $5.73.
I tried to get some idea of this sandwich's fan base from the counter guy. Frat pledges? Invalids restricted to liquid diets? No idea. If you've spotted this on the menu anywhere else, please let us know.
Polk & Western Hot Dogs, 749 S. Western, 312-829-0300.