Patrick Lee Wants to Fry You Anything at Batter Up
A graffiti-laden sliding window masked by a cold, windy Muni stop in the Excelsior District seems an odd spot for the city's lone dive specializing in Texas State Fair "cuisine." Odder still, its owner, Patrick Lee, is a San Francisco-bred dot-com escapee whose only prior restaurant experience consisted of busing tables at his aunt's pizza parlor downtown. Yet every day, Lee mans his minuscule space (only one person can fit at a time) and, utilizing a small deep-fryer no different than those found on the kitchen counters of many an ambitious home cook, doles out a dizzying array of battered dogs, sausages, cheese sticks, and mass-market sweets.
Alex Hochman Does it really matter what's inside?
You can't visit Batter Up without trying a classic corn dog ($3.75). Lee uses Evergood all-beef frankfurters, fried in a thick blanket of barely crunchy, faintly sweet cornmeal. The dog managed to stay snappy despite a generous coating. Even better was a Schwarz smoked bratwurst, its more intense flavor truly able to stand up to the batter. Like a pedigreed chef, Lee refused to divulge any details about the secret recipe for his mixture.
Vegetarians, don't fret! Batter Up has a selection of "cheese dogs," ($3) essentially rectangular cubes of cheese given a whirl in the same batter and hot oil. We sampled the cheddar version and liked the crispy-gooey contrast, even if the cheese itself was too mild to stand out.
Subscribing to the "fry anything and it will taste better" Longhorn mentality, Lee offers eight fried dessert options, including Twinkies, Oreos, and Snickers. Ever the peanut butter cup junkies, we opted for a Reese's ($2) that got so drowned, we really couldn't taste the candy save for a small hit of peanut butter near the final bite.
A return is definitely in order to tackle the triple play, three different sausages crammed on a stick before given a dip. Oh, and if you're thinking about using Corn Dog Window as the name for your college band, you were beat by SF Weekly's very own Alan Scherstuhl, who's rumored to have trademarked it.