Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Can This Place Cut the Mustard?

Mustard's Chicago Style Hot Dogs
3630 Katella
Los Alamitos, CA 90720

Hockey is back. Yes, as many of you may know from knowing me, or reading this blog, I love hockey. I have been going nuts with no sports to watch. I have never really been a basketball fan, my football team was pretty much counted out when they opened up training camp, and my college basketball favorite will be lucky to make any kind of appearance in a post season tournament. To say that my teams stink, would be an understatement. So I was very excited when my beloved Ducks would be back on the ice after a delay of 113 days due to the NHL lockout.

One of my favorite days is when we divvy up our season tickets, so I can get to planning what games I will be going to. We usually do this in an area that is conducive to the three of us. My Dad works in Long Beach, Steve lives in Los Alamitos, and I live in south OC, so I am usually the one that has to drive the farthest. I don't usually mind because it gives me a chance to try a restaurant in an area that we do not frequent as much. This year we would be getting our game day tickets at Mustard's in Los Alamitos.

Mustard's is located in a small strip mall on Katella. If you blink you may miss this place. It is sandwiched by a McDonald's and Maderas Steak and Rib Restaurant. Mustard's specializes in Chicago style food, although their menu covers just about everything from chicken sandwiches, burgers, and numerous sandwiches. Not only a large menu, but they also feature daily specials which are plastered near the register. I was ready to eat, so let's see how this compares to other Chicago style food joints we have visited.

Chicago is known for their hot dogs, but I do not think they are known for their chili dogs. Nonetheless, both Steve and my Dad got the Windy City Chili Dog ($3.49). I  guess if you slap a Chicago style name on anything it becomes a Chicago kind of food. This chili dog came with the requisite poppy seed bun, onions, chili, and cheese. Both Steve and my Dad liked their dogs, as was evident by how quick they were gone from the table. The chili was not a spicy chili, but added moisture and a little flavor to this hot dog. The chili and onions were pretty plentiful on here as well.

The people of Chicago do their hot dogs a little different from the rest of us. I would describe this Classic Chicago Dog ($3.09) as a salad bar on top of a hot dog. Each of these hot dogs comes with more vegetables than I probably eat in a week. This hot dog starts with a soft poppy seed bun, and a 100 percent pure beef Vienna Kosher Style Hot Dog. The hot dog had a very nice pop to it, and the beef inside had a great flavor. Then here comes the cavalcade of veggies. The hot dog is topped with onions, relish, tomato, neon green pickle relish, a pickle spear, hot sport peppers, celery salt, and mustard. No ketchup ever touches a true Chicago dog. I learned that lesson the hard way. I took one bite with all of the veggies, but took off the tomato and the pickle spear to finish this pretty good hot dog. This version lives up to the one that I had just outside the gates of Wrigley Field. I recommend getting this dog when coming to Mustard's.

To go along with my Chicago dog I had to have a side item, so I went with the Onion Rings ($2.89). These are a very basic onion ring. Not awful, but not anything that you couldn't get anywhere else. I did like that these came with ranch dressing, without me having to ask for it.

Along with the Chicago hot dog and deep dish pizza, probably the next most iconic Chicagoland food is the Italian beef sandwich. My favorite variation of this fantastic sandwich is the Italian Beef and Sausage Combo ($6.95). You basically get two sandwiches in one with this variation. Thin sliced roast beef is placed alongside an Italian sausage in the same bun, then topped with sweet bell peppers, grilled onions, giardinera (a relish of pickled vegetables), and au jus. Normally the sandwich is dunked into the au jus, but at Mustard's they have the au jus on the side and you pour it on yourself. For someone that likes their sandwiches double dipped, I did not have enough au jus for my taste. I know I could have asked for more, but you do not get the sandwich submerged by pouring it on yourself. The sausage had a nice mild taste to it, but the Italian beef was lacking in the flavor department. It kind of tasted like nothing. The bun held up to the contents of the sandwich, but this was just a mediocre Combo sandwich.

One chili dog was not going to fill my Dad up, so for round two he got this Turkey Melt ($5.75). This turkey melt came with tomato, Swiss and American cheeses, and mayo, all on rye bread. I did not think this sandwich looked appetizing at all, but the old man had no complaints about it. The turkey patty appeared to be very thin, but again this did not last long once it hit the table. This sandwich came with a side of potato salad. The potato salad was pretty solid. Not anything that wowed us, but it was good enough.

Mustard's fills a need when you need a taste of the Windy City, and want to forgo the cost of plane tickets to the Midwest. This restaurant is not as good as Portillo's in Buena Park, but if you are nowhere near Buena Park, you can get a good Chicago dog here. The Italian beef sandwich leaves a lot to be desired, but will do in a pinch. Side items were pretty average, but on future visits I would try the chili fries or fried zucchini. You are also not going to be wowed by Mustard's ambiance either. It is a little cluttered, and predictably there is lots of Chicago memorabilia on all the walls. Service was fair, we ordered at the counter and then your number is called and you pick up your food at another window. The food did come out fairly quick. We got here at about five on a Wednesday night, and there was a steady stream of customers through the doors. The food here kind of took a backseat to the excitement we felt about a new hockey season and getting our Ducks tickets.

Out of five stovepipe hats, (since Chicago is in Illinois, and that state is known as the Land of Lincoln, and Abe is known for wearing a stovepipe hat), five being best to zero being worst, Mustard's Chicago Style Hot Dogs gets 2.5 stovepipe hats.

Mustard's Chicago Style Hot Dogs does not have web site, but you can find information and reviews here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/mustards-chicago-style-hot-dogs-los-alamitos

Mustard's Chicago Style Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon


  1. In hindsight, I'd forgo the turkey melt for another dog... it was OK, but nothing to be wow'd about.
    BTW, Mike, let's not refer to me any more as your 'old man'. :)
    Thought your review of Mustanrd's was spot on... get it, mustard, spot... he-he!

  2. About 6 years ago, I worked in Signal Hill. I am not sure if they moved to Los Alamitos or opened a new location. Either way, the hot dogs were great.

  3. Anonymous - Please leave the horrible puns to me. I inherited this awful sense of humor from you, so I will be the one to infect the world with the awful puns. Just kidding. Thanks for writing.

    Taylor - They are indeed one and the same. Same menu and I am not sure if they are the same owners still, becasue they do not have a web site, and I forgot to ask. Thanks for the comment.

  4. There was a Mustard's in Santa Ana on Harbor Blvd. back in the late 80's. My boss's fav place for Chicago dogs since that's where he's from. Our office was right down the street.

  5. Anonymous - I do not remember that location. Could be the same owners though. Thanks for taking the time to comment and read the blog.