Allow me to preface this review by saying that I don't like hot dogs. I find the taste of the sausage as bland as an episode of “This Old House,” the texture as slimy and spongy as, well, a sea sponge, and more often than not, the sausage is cooked to a point where the casing is scorched more than the town of Pompeii. On top of generally poorly executing the meat, we Americans tend to prefer our buns as doughy and bland as possible. That said, I do try to have an unbiased mind whenever I try out a new restaurant, food truck, burger joint, landfill, etc. So, if I eat something radically amazing that shatters my every preconceived notion of that foodstuff, I will realize that it IS possible to do that item justice.
And that is the case with Yoyo's Hot Dogs. Now, yes, I realize it is the highest-rated food destination on Yelp and, yes, I realize that 245 people could not possibly have been all wrong (or could they? Maybe I should take a statistics class), but, as a hotdog skeptic, I did not believe. Well, now I do. And where shall I start?
Location is key for any on-campus college student, and Yoyo's location on Morningside Drive in Rice Village, just a stone’s throw away from Torchy's, is prime. However, because Yoyo's has limited seating, has an umbrella for a roof, and is a little cart with a stove on it, prepare to eat standing up, in the nearby parking garage or on the curb. Price is a huge plus: If you pay in cash, a single hot dog is $5. If you pay by credit, it's a couple cents more. Sizing is also adequate. I was fairly satisfied by my single hot dog meal, although people who desire to "bulk up" may want to order two.
Now for the taste breakdown. Yoyo only serves one kind of hot dog, but ingredients work as harmoniously as the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The cream cheese on the bun is especially ingenious. Not only does it provide an extra layer of smoothness to the hot dog, but it also complements the kick of the sriracha quite well. The sriracha in turn works well with the honey mayo, curry ketchup and mustard to create an umami bomb, a mouth coating flavor usually reserved for more sophisticate genres of food. The sauces selected by Yoyo's elevate the humble hot dog to incredible heights — they are the stars of the dish.
However, while the cream cheese, sriracha, mayo, ketchup and mustard elevate the sausage, the fried onions diminish some of the hot dog's glory. They provide a new and interesting texture that contrasts with the soft bun and chewy hot dog, but they were undoubtedly store-bought. It's a shame really, since all the homemade sauces were so thoughtfully made. The taste of the fried onions sticks out from among the symphony like an out-of-tune trombone. I was also disappointed that Yoyo's does not toast the hot dog bun. Toasting a bun not only adds more texture to the meal, it also helps bring out whatever char may be on the hot dog itself.
Although I do have a few quibbles with what I was served, overall, my experience was enjoyable. The mistakes made were tiny in the grand scheme of things. Will I be a repeat customer? Oh, absolutely, most definitely, yes.