Fast food with Japanese flair

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Author: Aralyn Beaumont

The bold statement on Humble Potato’s website couldn’t be more accurate: the restaurant truly is “part American, part Japanese, 100% Los Angeles.” Perpetuating the Asian fusion trend that permeates L.A. cuisine, the Humble Potato imposes Japanese flavors on American fast food. 

At a place like Humble Potato, milkshakes are made with avocados and fries and burgers are topped with any combination of curry sauce, nori, scallions or soy pickled jalapenos. 

Founder and CEO of the restaurant, Eric Ong, wanted to combine his love for American comfort food with the nostalgic Japanese flavors of his parents’ home cooking. The result is Humble ingredients, which range from the aforementioned curry sauce, nori, scallions and soy pickled jalapenos to American classics like bacon, HP sauce, grilled onions to more obscure Japanese flavors like pickled radishes, tonkatsu sauce, and yuzu-jalapeno slaw. 

Surprisingly, American fast food tastes great with a Japanese makeover. Parmesan french fries have an entirely different taste when tossed with nori instead of garlic. Sweet potato fries are amazing with a spicy red Humble dipping sauce, and traditional fries taste fantastic with the curry sauce.  

Instead of topping hot dogs with ketchup and mustard, the Humble Potato favors nori, soy pickled jalapenos, scallions, and curry sauce. The “Little Tokyo Doggu” has more familiar American toppings such as HP spicy sauce, bacon and grilled onions, but they are served alongside some of those soy picked jalapenos to maintain the Japanese spin.

The stars at Humble Potato are the sandwiches, which range from burgers to fried chicken hoagies. A beautiful combination of sweet and savory, the Yakiniku Sando is a Philly Cheese Steak with Rib-Eye beef marinated in homemade yakiniku sauce and stuffed in a garlic buttered french roll along with grilled onions, scallions, and shichimi red peppers. 

The Katsu Sando overflows with two enormous chunks of buttermilk panko-crusted fried chicken, yuzu-jalapeno slaw and tonkatsu sauce. Fried eggs top the grilled chicken and ginger flavored Koke Kokko sandwich and the most American flavored burger on the menu—the Battle Royale. 

If that all sounds like too much animal-rich protein, a tempeh veggie burger and three salads are on the menu for some hearty vegetarian options. While we’re on the topic of vegetables, I should address the avocado milkshake. I think for anyone whose sweet tooth is under control, unlike mine, this healthy shake would be a great treat: the distinct avocado flavor came through when unmasked by swirls of chocolate syrup.

Milkshakes notwithstanding, the Humble Potato shouldn’t be so modest about what it’s doing with American and Japanese flavors. 

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