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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Restaurant review: Dog Haus in Thousand Oaks

VENTURA COUNTY STAR ONLINE — Restaurant review: Dog Haus in Thousand Oaks — by Rita Moran

Thousand Oaks, Calif. - The Dog Haus chain isn’t quite barking to let you know it’s now in Ventura County, but you might hear a “woof” or two about its newly opened site in Thousand Oaks.

DOG HAUS Location: 50 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. 497-3644;
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Impressions: Small interior with loud music, pleasant outdoor patio; prompt and helpful service; unusual preparations for hot dogs, sausages and burgers.
What’s hot: Sooo Cali Haus Dog, Another Night in Bangkok, The Pig and the Fig, milkshakes.

Founded in 2010 in Pasadena by Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz and André Vener, the hot dog, sausage and burger house at the very least will tickle your funny bone with sandwich names like Sooo Cali, Another Night in Bangkok and The Pig and the Fig. Those were the dog and sausage items we gulped down at the small-but-colorful site off Thousand Oaks Boulevard. More about the names later, but first the food.

Naturally we had to have a Haus Dog ($5.99), the spot’s signature all-beef skinless dog. We chose the Sooo Cali version, with its wild arugula, spicy basil aioli, avocado, tomato and crispy onions. Like all the sandwiches on the menu, it’s served on grilled King’s Hawaiian rolls. The Sooo Cali was oozing with flavor, so much so that we ultimately attacked it with a plastic knife and fork, which seemed better than having to wipe sauce and juice off our fingers after every bite.

There are different Haus Sausages, and of course different names for them. Each is $6.99. We can vouch for Another Night in Bangkok. While it might not make you think you’re in a distant country, it certainly does heat up the palate with its spicy Thai red currywurst, peanut sauce, Asian slaw and crushed peanuts. We were almost fighting over who would order The Pig and the Fig, which featured Emmentaler cheese-stuffed sausage, fig-onion relish (it actually works), wild arugula, whole grain mustard aioli and sliced almonds.

We didn’t get to the Haus Burgers, made from natural Black Angus beef freshly ground daily. They came with their own amusing names and unusual ingredients. Several have a fried egg in the mix, like The Little Mule, which comes with two cheeses, Haus-made tomatillo sauce, chipotle aioli and avocado.

Just reading the names can keep you smiling while you munch your dog, sausages or burgers. There’s a Tae Kwon Dog, which includes kimchi, an egg and Korean chili powder; the Scott Baioli, with smoked bacon, white American cheese, garlic aioli and caramelized onions; and the Grand Slam, with smoked bacon, egg, tater tots and maple syrup sriracha.

Sausage-wise, there’s the Bad Mutha Clucka, built around chicken Fontina sausage; The Pig Lebowski, starting with Polish kielbasa; Kung Pao Cajun, featuring andouille teamed with kung pao sauce, bell peppers, water chestnuts and peanuts; Das Brat, not surprisingly bratwurst with sauerkraut among the enticements; and The Fonz, with spicy Italian sausage and pastrami sharing the plate.

Burgers continue the name game with the Holy Aioli (smoked bacon, white American cheese, garlic aioli, caramelized onions), the Ava Maria (sautéed mushrooms, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, mayo) and the Motley Bleu 2.0 (soy-racha onions, blue sriracha, white American cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato).

The fancy names don’t extend to the sides we added: Haus slaw and Asian slaw, each $1.49, and sweet potato fries $3.99. The fries were less crisp than many we’ve had and the slaws, though obviously quite fresh, were so low-key in flavor that we couldn’t tell the Haus from the Asian versions.

You can also build your own dog, sausage or burger, with lots of ingredients available. Desserts are either shakes, malts or The Floater, which features ice cream combined with a bottled soda. We can vouch for the thickness and intense sweetness of the chocolate and white chocolate shakes ($4.99), made from Straus Family Creamery organic ice cream.

The noise level inside the small order-at-the-counter space was on blast the day we dropped in, enough so that I was very happy to find that the pleasant patio seating was sufficient to accommodate about as many people as there were indoors. On a perfectly balmy Thousand Oaks day there was even an enticing amount of shade as the outdoor area wraps around the building.

So we were happy campers on the patio, with our unusual sandwiches devoured while we quietly chatted.

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