ChefScape in the Village at Leesburg has a great location, especially at this time of year, when shoppers flock to the outdoor mall. But somehow, I rarely remember to see what’s new at the food hall. This is a mistake on my part. Since the stands inside ChefScape are populated by fledgling restaurateurs perhaps on their ways to a freestanding business of their own (alums include Johnny Ray’s Sultry Soul Food, now in Sterling), there’s room for some concepts that are a little more interesting than one might find elsewhere. I’m a confessed fan of Colombian’s Place, the home of a slamming bandeja paisa. I’ve also written about pierogi purveyor Rogi, which has another other location in Ballston Quarter. That leaves LuckyDog, which opened in September.
Loudoun County is a bit of a hot dog desert. The addition of LuckyDog and its purported “authentic hotdog experiences” is a breath of fresh air. And, miles from DC, this transplant finally got to try my first half-smoke. The snappy griddled dog, straight from Ben’s Chili Bowl, is covered in LuckyDog’s own house chili, an earthy, saucy concoction that brings out the smoky assets of the juicy sausage. It’s served on a toasted potato bun that’s fluffy, but sturdy enough to withstand the dousing of chili, mustard, and onions. Though I can’t speak to its authenticity, I am definitely now a devotee.
And that wasn’t the only sausage I tried. I also devoured the Cubano dog, a take on the sandwich, which features a bisected beer brat. There’s no ham, but the sandwich is plenty meaty with just the sausage. In fact, I found the hot dog to be one of the better-balanced Cubanos I’ve had in the area, thanks in large part to the crunchy, grill-marked Cuban bread that binds nutty Swiss cheese with its acidic foils of pickles and mustard.
And there’s more yet to try at LuckyDog. I had to miss out on the Korean corn dogs, as well as a variety of lumpia (Filipino eggrolls), including the very appealing ube-and-cheddar-filled one. Perhaps those temptations will draw me to return to ChefScape a little sooner next time.
1602 Village Market Blvd., Leesburg
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