25522 Marguerite Parkway Ste 101
Mission Viejo, CA 92692
We have now written over 200 restaurant reviews. I sometimes wonder about the restaurants that we have written about, and if they have improved since we last went there. I had seen an advertisement for Berkeley Dog, and they were promoting a new bacon hash dog. Bacon hash! That is all that they had to say, and I was back with my friends Mike and Richard to give Berkeley Dog another shot.
The last time we were at Berkeley Dog they were sharing their space with a yogurt shop. Big surprise, the yogurt shop, like many others through the county is not here anymore, and they have the space all to themselves. We arrived at 3pm on a Wednesday, ordered from very cheerful employee at the counter, and waited for our food to come out. Here is what we had.
On our first journey to Berkeley Dog I just tried the sausages. This time we went big, starting with the Monster Fries above. Monster fries consist of fries topped with onions, bacon, and cheese sauce. I thought these tasted just okay. I am not really a big fan of cheese sauces. I would have rather had grated cheese on this instead. The fries were your average fast food fries.
Another new item since the last time we were here is the Chili Cheese Dog. Mike and I split this, and we both had the same opinion of this dog. The chili was good, but it was hard to get past the bun. The buns at Berkeley Dog are some of the worst we have had. There is just too much bread for a hot dog. They would be better off getting store brand hot dog buns and using those. Since there was so much bread, the hot dog and cheese really got lost here.
Now the reason I came back here, the Bacon Hash Dog. The hash consisted of hash brown sticks, onions, and bacon bits. The hash browns needed to be seasoned with salt. The hot dog and bacon were good, but like the chili dog above, the bun detracted from the flavor and made this specialty dog dry. I had such high hopes for this, and was so let down.
The next sausage that I had was the Louisiana Hot Link. This really packed a punch. Very spicy with a good snap to the hot dog.This was my favorite thing I had here this afternoon, but again the bun tried to steal the show from the hot dog, and almost won in this case.
Mike has really been on a fried egg kick lately, adding it to numerous hamburgers at Slater's 50/50, and other places. Berkeley Dog was no exception for him. Here he added an egg to the Juicy Habanero. According to Mike, the egg added nothing here. He would have liked to have had the egg seasoned with pepper or salt. The result by not doing this made the egg flavorless, and unnecessary. He did feel that the habanero did have a decent kick to it, but he would leave out the egg next time.
Mike was still hoping for a redeeming hot dog when he ordered the Kielbasa with onions and peppers. His hopes were dashed after finishing this though. Mike described the kielbasa as, "bland". Like the hash brown sticks and egg before them, the peppers and onions added nothing to the kielbasa. Finally tired of the bun, he discarded it less than halfway through this sausage. He was very disappointed.
As disappointed as Mike and I were about this place, Richard was even more disappointed about Berkeley Dog. He did call the Kobe Beef Dog delicious, but was too distracted by the bun to really enjoy this hot dog. His second choice, the Calabrese, he did not even finish. The fennel in this sausage really over powered the taste, and led Richard to call this sausage, "awful".
Richard also made the choice to order the Funnel Cake Fries here. These, "fries", were listed right along with the regular fries, but these were more a dessert than french fries. We did agree that these were good, but they were missing something. Maybe some caramel or chocolate dipping sauce would go even better with these. Without a sauce, we grew tired of these rather quickly.
The last thing we went with was the Chili Cheese Fries. Like the chili cheese dog, we liked the chili enough to call these fries, solid. I especially liked the grated cheese on top of these. The chili, cheese and fries ratio here was pretty good, and that sometimes can be hard to get just right.
So was our second trip to Berkeley Dog better than the first? No it was not. Like the first time I was here, the main problem with this place is the bun. There is too much of it, and it really takes all of the moisture out of the hot dog and the toppings you put on it. A simple fix would be to offer a more traditional bun which would allow the hot dogs and sausages to shine. The meats here are really good, but get pushed to the side by the over powering bread. Also, a little seasoning from the cooks would help bring out some flavor in the grilled onions, egg, peppers, and hash browns. I did like the wide variety of mustard's and relishes that they offer, but I am not sure that is enough to make we want to come back.
So out of five golden bears, (because that is the nickname for the University of California sports teams, located in Berkeley), five being best to zero being worst, Berkeley Dog gets 2 golden bears.
For more information on Berkeley Dog, click here: http://www.berkeleydogs.com/index.html