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It's true that a boot on a bun probably would be fun at Dawg n' Bergs, a place full of funky, friendly atmosphere. Here's a neighborhood joint at its finest, hidden behind a Circle K but packed with regulars who actually apologize to the cook when they can't spend more time (and money) there. "Busy nothing!" is the warm reply. "You gotta eat!"
We do our part, lured in by Dawg n' Bergs ravishing Italian beef. It's a masterpiece built on lotsa juicy, tender meat bathed in peppery jus, a soft cornmeal-dusted sub roll, and a few slivers of our choice of hot or sweet peppers. It's a two-fister, and when we're finished, we're full.
We gotta eat. And when we're eating Italian beef, it's at Dawg n' Bergs.
Soft pasta in this quiet, upscale eatery is homemade, lovingly cranked out by real Italians. Sauces are fashioned from scratch and married with straight-from-the-homeland-style ingredients. Spaghetti and meatballs? For shame. Instead, we're feasting on authentic pappardelle con salsiccia casareccia e pisellini (a mouthful that means pappardelle with homemade sausage, tomato and peas). We're nibbling on gnocchetti, semolina based instead of flour, then baked, sautéed and coated with a vibrant blend of fontina and Gruyère cheeses. And we're feasting on fettuccine, egg noodles tossed with lobster, organic tomato, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
In Italian, Leccabaffi means "lick your mustache." In English, it means "lick your plate."
Schreiner's, we salute your sausages.
The only such thing we're interested in exploring is The Big Unit Hot Dog served at Alice Cooper'stown -- a two-foot-long frank, all beef. And it's a big meal, served with choice of two sides: fries, Coop's coleslaw, potato chips, or calico beans. For half a buck more, we can dress our dog with cheese, chili or beer-soaked sauerkraut. Now that's a unit we can understand.
Though they're not always on the menu, vegetarian dishes are a highlight here. We ask for the chef's seasonal selection, roasted in the hunter's lodge-style fireplace in the dining room. A superb sampling includes grilled eggplant, roasted pepper, asparagus, and goat cheese cannelloni.
The best cuts of meat are aged on premises, then slow-roasted to our order -- rare to medium-rare to showcase the quality of the beef. We've got our choice of sizes and savories, too. Usually the "small" 12-ounce is fine; other times we want the hungry man's large 16-ouncer. For beefier eats, get the prime rib bones, regular or barbecue style. Either way, tender meat melts in your mouth, dipped in rich jus and slathered with honest, zesty horseradish. And entrees come with complimentary chopped liver, an enormous breadbasket, a huge salad, and potato: au gratin, baked, double-baked or French fries.