When choosing my third dog from the new Umami Burger in Toluca Lake
, I decided to go with a classic. Their chili dog starts with a mustard sauce smeared inside one of Umami's custom hot dog buns, then beer cheddar, house chili, and minced fresh onions go atop the all-beef hot dog. And it is all
about that frank, which is the star of the show. Dense and full of flavor, Umami has these dogs made to spec, and it's probably the best hot dog frank I've tasted. All the rest of the ingredients, in this and all the other Umami hot dogs I've had so far, are in service to that central player, the dog itself.
The chili too is pretty excellent, very
meaty and not overpowering with its spices. Yet for a chili dog, this was a little too refined, and if I had a wish it's that there was more of the actual chili. The minced onions provide nice crunch and freshness, with the cheese and mustard sauce rounding things out. My only real complaint is the bun was either stale or, more likely, under-toasted. It was rather dry around the edges, as if it had been sitting on a shelf for a few hours. A fair amount of it was left on the plate.
The sweet potato fries were flavorful, but a little disappointing. I like a fry which is big and firm enough to be eaten one-by-one. These I had to eat by the batch, as they were mainly small pieces and a bit too limp. That said, the house-made ketchup was excellent, as always, and the garlic aioli went well with the fries. All told, a good meal, though next time I'll probably choose a different
Hot dog and fries, about $10.