Monday, April 8, 2013

Is Linx the Top Dog in a City Rich in Hot Dogs?


Linx
285 W. Chapman Ave.
Orange, CA 92866

At this rate, the city of Orange may have to be nicknamed Hot Dog Capital of OC. Not only does this city contain one of my favorite hot dog places to date, Game Day Hot Dogs, but they also feature another on-line favorite, and place that has been on our must try list forever, PCH Dogs. I promise we will get to you soon PCH Dogs. 

Now there is a new hot dog/sausage place in this frankfurter rich metropolis. Linx has moved into the area, just a block and a half west of the Orange Plaza, or as people who do not know any better call it, "the Orange Circle". I have learned my lesson though, so it will be the Orange Plaza on this blog. Anyways, I was pretty excited to try this new hot dog place, and on this trip I had the pleasure of having my good friend Steve, and his wonderful family join me here at Linx. 

The man behind Linx is Chef Scott Brandon, who was the chef and founder of another of my favorite restaurants, Crow Bar and Kitchen in Corona Del Mar. Now Scott and his partner, Rick Kagasoff, have opened Linx and are trying to make a name for themselves in this hot dog haven area of OC. According to their web site they are trying to make the simple hot dog into something extraordinary. They are working directly with Europa Specialty Sausage to create all of their specialty sausages. They also get their buns and rolls directly from the O.C. Baking Company everyday. As if that was not enough, they make all their condiments in house, they get as much produce as possible from farmers markets, and they do not add fillers or by-products to any of their sausages. 

We got to Linx at about 4PM on a Monday afternoon. A time that is right in the middle of the lull between lunch and dinner. Linx is not a huge restaurant. They have a large communal table set up in the middle of the restaurant with maybe ten chairs, then a bar along a wall with about seven seats, then two small tables, and dining outside on their adjacent patio. I can imagine that this place can get a little cramped at meal times, but we had our choice of seating. Ordering is done at the counter, and then food is brought out for you. After we studied the menu for way too long, we went to order. This is what came out of the kitchen for us. 


I was going to be eating at my Mom's for dinner, so I limited myself to only three items at Linx. The first was this Beer Brat ($6). This neurenberger bratwurst comes topped with bacon-apple kraut and beer mustard on a salted pretzel bun. First off the bun was really good here. They were soft, held everything in place, and did not get in the way of what was inside. The brat had a nice meaty flavor to it, but was a little mellower than I had thought it would be. I think the veal used in this brat really subdued the pork here. I definitely got the apple in the kraut, but the bacon was not present for me. I did really like the mustard on this though, I could definitely tell it was made here. Not the best brat I have had, but it all came together nicely. 




Not to ruin the rest of this review, but this was the best thing I had at Linx, and the thing that I will definitely come back for. The T.J. Street Dog ($6) definitely deserves three pictures here. This starts with a spicy Polish kielbasa, then is topped with smoked bacon, chorizo mayo, avocado, cilantro, and a giardiniera relish, all on a potato bun. This is like no Tijuana hot dog I have ever had. The big flavors all came together to create a great taste experience. The spiciness from the Polish was evident, the avocado cooled things down a bit, the bacon added a salty element, and the sauces were real good as well. This one was gone far too quick. 


I got an order of Belgian Frites ($5) to split among all of us. I was expecting these frites to be more crisp than they turned out to be. I could tell that these frites used to be potatoes fairly recently. They definitely had that fresh taste. They were a tad too mushy for me though. With the large order you get your choice of two sauces to try. I really had a hard time choosing because they all sounded so good. I eventually went with the  Blue Cheese Bacon Aioli and the Chorizo Mayo. I found the blue cheese bacon aioli to be too watery, and kind of boring. The chorizo mayo was thicker, and clung to the limp fries better. I would say that I would not get these again, but I definitely need something to go along with the sausages. I might just ask for them to be more well done next time. 



The item that I was most excited to try when I was walking into Linx was the Double Down Burrito ($8). I had a very similar item at a hot dog place in Reseda almost two years ago. I still dream about that Texas Burrito Dog. The burrito here at Linx came with two all beef franks, chili, bacon, beans, pico de gallo, and cheese, all wrapped in a flour tortilla. This double down burrito really let me down. Maybe it was because I had such high hopes going into it. The chili was okay, but lacked the pop of flavor I had expected. The cheese was totally lost here, while the pico de gallo featured real big hunks of tomato in it, and not much else. The beans were average, and the only saving grace for this burrito were the two franks, that added a nice meatiness to this otherwise bland burrito. I was really hoping this burrito could save me from driving the hour and a half up to Reseda, but it was not to be.


Steve's wife, Blair selected the Coney Dog ($6) to try. Linx's version of the chili dog started with a griddled frank, then is topped with chili, yellow mustard, and usually onions, but Blair opted for her Coney Dog to come without. The bun used on this was a potato roll. Blair finished this chili dog rather quickly, and then debated as to whether to get another one. She really liked this version of a chili dog. The bun was good, and the chili was mild, just the way she likes it. She would get this again, but might contemplate getting two next time. 


Steve did not have a difficult time picking out what he was going to get at Linx. He knew right away that the Ripper ($6) was in his immediate future. This favorite from the east coast is a frankfurter that is deep fried until it bursts, then mustard, relish, and grilled onions are added to the potato roll. Steve liked this version of a hot dog, but though that it was going to have more crunch to the frankfurter. He liked the condiments used here, and would probably get this ripper again. 


Off of the Custom Linx menu, Steve and Blair's adorable daughter Lucy got a Naked Style Frankfurter ($4), which just came with the dog and a bun. I thought I was going to be able to snag half of this, because Lucy was more into playing Britney Spears on her Ipod, but she eventually was persuaded to eat her hot dog. She did make a pretty good dent in it, and said that it was, "good". Thanks for that informative review Lucy, now go back to singing Britney. 


No Pepsi or Coca Cola fountain drink products at Linx, only Cane Sugar Bottled Sodas ($2.50) are served here. I am not much of a soda fan, so I stuck with water and iced tea. Just wanted to make it known that there are no free re-fills here. The guys at Linx are also really into craft and specialty beers. They have about 10 beers on tap, and another twenty or so that come in the bottle. As with most restaurants, they will be rotating their craft beer selection on regular a basis. 


Just could not pass up the opportunity to show off Steve and Blair's latest addition to the family. Her name is Ruby, and she was just about four weeks old when this picture was snapped. I am sure that she will not remember that Linx was her very first restaurant, because she slept through the whole meal. Lucky girl, because she did not have to listen to her Dad's horrible stories. Just kidding, Steve.

Back to Linx though. I have come to the realization that this restaurant is not for everyone. The portions are on the small side, the prices are pretty expensive for the amount you get, and the seating can be an issue. Linx is more for the person that wants quality over quantity. The attention to detail here will not be appreciated by all, but it was appreciated by me. The great buns, the way they make all of their condiments, and the well made dogs and sausages will bring me back. I do feel like I will have to make multiple visits to Linx to find my ultimate hot dog experience here. It may come form one of the 10 already dressed dogs, or it may come from the custom order portion of the menu. I am looking forward to my journey to hot dog nirvana in what is becoming Hot Dog City USA.

Out of five train cars, (because the now canceled train route between Norway and Sweden was run by the now defunct train company Linx), five being best to zero being worst, Linx gets 3 train cars. 

For more information about Linx, click here: http://linxdogs.com/

Linx on Urbanspoon

4 comments:

  1. Just talked with my son, Tyler (turned 22 last week) as he was eating at Linx. He was raving about the dog he got, don't know which one. But he is pretty picky. My boyfriend who I would consider to be a hot dog connoisseur went to Linx and absolutely loved it. He had the TJs Street Dog and he couldn't stop talking about the taste and home made condiments, etc. Loved the European feel of the place and the attention to detail in the food. He said it reminded him of the dogs he got in Germany and other countries. Not being a big hotdog eater, but like the idea of the no fillers, I will be the next one to try it and soon!

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  2. Sally - Thanks so much for sharing your families thoughts about Linx. I am really looking forward to finding out what you think of the hot dogs here. I can not wait to go back. thanks for reading the blog, and taking the time to comment.

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  3. If the Plaza's not a circle...then why is it round? The Circle is IN the Orange Plaza...Confused yet?

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  4. Anonymous - I have been confused by a lot less than this. Your point makes perfect sense. I'm just going to stick to calling it the plaza though, to avoid angering non-circle lovers. Thanks for taking the time to set the record straight.

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