The Humble Potato – Hambagas for Godzilla

8 Mar

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The Humble Potato came out of nowhere. Located in one of the least interesting areas of eating in the entire City of Los Angeles (Westchester), HP brings awesome design and pretty interesting food to an area full of candidates for Kitchen Nightmares.

The kitty greets you at the door saying, “Hambaga!” What could be a racist target is really a succinct summary of their point of view — American hamburgers as interpreted by the Japanese.

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The menu is hambagas, sandos (sandwiches), hotdoggus (hot dogs), and salads. Everything is familiar but just a little tweaked — curry sauce for the fries, tonkatsu in the sandwich, bottles of yogurt drink.

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The art is awesome. Street art, anime, Asian-American and Japanese memes. Speed Racer, Hello Kitty, Battle of the Planets (G-Force), and of course Godzilla.

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The art is commissioned local street artists and donated art by people in the area.

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The seating is orange Navy chairs — legit Emeco ones!

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One of my favorite pieces is this simple mural in the bathroom — paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, Godzilla beats everything!

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What about the food?

Here’s the Battle Royale hambaga, named after a disgusting Lord of the Flies type cult film from Japan. Fried egg, avocado, Applewood bacon, Angus beef, and their spicy sauce (probably a Sriracha aioli). It’s a mess, but the flavors are good, a little like a slightly Asian Fatburger.

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My only real complaint is that the burger was cooked well-done. If this is a fresh patty, you can’t even tell as it is dry. But the other flavors are strong and make up for this error.

(Although, it’s possible this is intentional. I don’t know how they like their burgers in Japan.)

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The katsu sando is pretty good. Nicely crispy tonkatsu, although just a bit dry. The sando is pretty plain, with the flavor coming from a side of katsu sauce.

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The schichimi and garlic Parmesan fries were fantastic. The schichimi is Japanese red pepper and gives it a subtle kick. Really flavorful.

We also got the curry sauce fries. Like the Spice Table, HP has found out that curry is a great condiment for fries.

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I also got the avocado chocolate shake. Pretty good – Hershey’s chocolate syrup and an avocado shake.

All in all, this place is a winner. The food is interesting, if not expertly prepared. Temper your expectations — this is not going to replace Father’s Office or Roy Choi’s places. HP is more in Fatburger’s or Smashburger’s weight class. But HP is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and one of the funnest places to open in a while.

Of course, I can’t help but wonder why they chose to open in this location. A place that seems tailor-made for Sawtelle sticks out like a sore thumb on this strip of lost-in-time pizza places. Immediate neighbors include a Goodwill dropoff site, a trophy store, and a red sauce Italian place (that isn’t bad, but hasn’t been touched in 30 years). According to the 2010 Census, Westchester is 12% Asian. Not that this place would only appeal to Asians, but I would think have improved their chances of success to be elsewhere. Anyways, I wish them the best and I’ll be back to try more from their menu.

The Humble Potato
8321 Lincoln Blvd. (just north of Manchester)
Los Angeles (Westchester)
323 989 2242

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