It seems like in a city of a million hot dog stands, our media have room for only one colorful, larger-than-life hot dog stand owner at a time. Stepping into the shoes variously occupied by the likes of Peter Schivarelli, Barry Potekin, and Doug Sohn now comes “Fat” Phil Asbach, a veteran of the scene (he owned north shore standby Herm’s at one time) who opened Phil’s Last Stand in February. Serious Eats has hymned his praises and today it’s the Reader’s turn. A press release about a preposterous attention-grabber of a 5-pound shrimp po’boy grabbed initial attention, though as Julia Thiel points out in this piece, that kind of excess is all too common in press release-land; what caught her eye was the fact that its size was measured in iPhones, which leads to an amusing disquisition on the suitability of iPhones as a replacement for feet and inches.
It falls to Mike Sula to try to actually eat the thing. He has praise for Phil’s in general: “he puts out a truly excellent, snappy char dog—scored on the ends and along its length so the edges of the natural skin casing pick up an irresistible crisp from the flames.” But the 5-lb., multi-iPhoned po’boy? “Fat jumbos fried crisp to rival the good ones at Red Hot Ranch. I couldn’t finish a pound. I wouldn’t have a prayer against that sandwich.”