The fanbase Richard Blais earned from Top Chef makes it easy for him to push iconoclastic versions of affordable comfort food. Like the Flip Burger Boutiques he oversees, HD1 concentrates on style—which, on an early visit, largely trumped substance. The dining room, formerly a location of San Francisco Coffee Roasting Co., is dark and relentlessly loud, and the community-style seating makes it a much more appealing option for a group outing than a date-night destination.
Toppings on the hot dogs and sausages are creative but can come off busy and a little weird: North African–inspired lamb merguez, for example, is dressed with minted cucumber salad and a too-sweet red currant compote. The buttery brioche rolls are delicious, at least. And starters labeled “bits” and “pieces”—spiced boiled peanuts, shrimp encased in grits and fried like corn dogs—are cheeky fun. Consider this place a work in progress.