Review: Mike's Hot Dogs, Soups and Sandwiches in University City
With a steady thump of blues and rock setting the vibe, visiting Mike’s Hot Dogs, Soups and Sandwiches in University City feels like stepping inside an old jukebox. The fire engine-red interior is decorated with vintage music prints and black-and-white photos, along with a handful of tables and metal chairs. The comfort food throwback menu of burgers, hot dogs and fries is thoughtfully prepared with absolutely zero pretense by owner Michael Eagan. Here are some standouts from the kitchen.
Mike's Texas-Style Chili
This chili is a heavy, stick-to-your-bones meat sauce speckled with pinto beans. The combination of ground chuck and sirloin is pure heaven on a chili dog or smothered on crispy house russet fries. Sprinkled with Monterey Jack and fresh chopped onions, the chili is likewise fantastic as a rich and hearty standalone dish.
The smoky, quarter-pound Angus beef Polish sausage is a thing to be adored. Loaded with traditional toppings of sauerkraut, hot brown mustard and caramelized onions, the sausage finishes with a salty crunch from deep-fried russet potato straws on top.
The burger is not to be missed. Thin, quarter-pound Angus beef patties are cooked to a crisp char diner-style on a flattop under a hot weight and dressed with thick dill pickle slices and a heap of salty-sweet caramelized onions on a buttery, toasted brioche bun. The result: a hefty, juicy burger that tastes like it was delivered to your car window by a waitress on roller skates.
Old Mexico Hot Dog
Mike’s has serious prowess in selecting fresh ingredients to complement quarter-pound Red Hot Lou all-beef links. The Old Mexico is dusted with southwest seasoning before a quick boil, then it’s seared and dressed with a delightfully spicy jalapeno aioli, black bean-corn salsa and a light sprinkle of queso fresco.
Kansas City Hot Dog
The Kansas City dog is an outright battle of barbecue flavor. A snappy Angus link is joined by a generous layer of juicy, slow-roasted pulled pork, sweet and spicy house-made barbecue sauce and complementary tanginess from dill pickles and chopped white onions.
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
Crispy, juicy fried chicken is the centerpiece of one of Mike’s best-selling sandwiches, topped with crisp apple wood-smoked bacon, Monterey Jack and a thick tomato slice. Tangy, fiery-hot Buffalo sauce mingles with creamy ranch dressing to calm the flames on a buttery, toasted brioche bun.
The meat on the pork-centric Cuban sandwich, which substituted Jack cheese for Swiss, was overwhelmed by the unnecessary addition of barbecue sauce and would have benefitted from a more substantial bread than brioche.
The fried cod sandwich was likewise a letdown. Though the ample cod fillet was nicely fried, the simple dressing of jalapeno aioli, lettuce and tomato did little to lift up the forgettable fish sandwich.
Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor and critic for Sauce Magazine.
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