I am so happy. So very happy.
I had a hot dog at Nebraska the other day, and it was wonderful. Ring the bells.
You see, Nebraska is a Madrid institution. It´s a bar, coffeeshop, restaurant, whatever, built on the lines of the diners one sees in American films of the 50´s. There are booths, the ceiling is a treasure of patterns in plaster, the waiters have been around since the good old days when you´d run into Ava Gardner or Hemingway staggering in for their six o´clock churros and cognac. And if they haven´t, they look like they have, which is just as good.
I used to go with my father, after the movies, for a nourishing hot dog. This was in the early 80´s, when one would be coming out of Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, or The Goonies. Mythic times, mythic hot dogs.
I never stopped going back for them, but frankly, they weren´t so good. If it hadn´t been for the massive doses of nostalgia, I doubt I could have even swallowed them. The rolls were flabby, they came with chips out of a bag, and to add insult to injury, the ketchup in the little satchets wasn´t Heinz.
Still, I kept at it, because the hot dog was only an excuse to sit and look at the ceiling, the waiters and the milkshake machine, probably smuggled out of Cuba by some sugar-king fleeing Castro in ´59 (and again, if not, who cares?). The clientele, too, is priceless, being a good mix of trendy young types in sunglasses, careful to make it clear that they´ve been partying for 36 hours and need some pancakes to go on ; serious looking old men, widowers, one hopes, treating ladies who work in the streets just behind Gran Vía to sandwiches mixtos ; old ladies having their merienda of coffee and ensaimadas ; a few tourists ; people loaded with bags after trips to Zara and H&M, much in need of restoration. All the world, in fact.
So anyway, I´m now very pleased to report that the hot dogs are as excellent as they ever were, if not better. The rolls are just that blend of chewy and soft, the sausage is cut in two, grilled lightly, and goes with a slice of bacon or ham, some pickles, and their bravas sauce, plus some mayonaise-mustard combo that´s the signature of the place. I always ask for them without the bravas sauce, with ketchup instead, and, yes!, this time it was Heinz. The fries are real fries, hot, and what´s great, it´s not very big, so you can either have two, or, better still, have a milkshake on the side.
Nebraska. Gran Vía 55, 91 547 16 35