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Hamburgers in Tokyo

I was at the Azabu Juban Matsuri yesterday, and I saw some hamburgers that looked amazing. The burger and toppings looked standard, but what caught my attention were the buns...they were HUGE. I would guess they were 5-6" in diameter, and 3" tall. Anyway, the sign on the stall said something like "Teh's Hamburgers" or "The's Hamburgers" or something like that. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I was hoping to find where their shop is in town, but I'm having trouble getting anywhere.

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  1. hey I did some digging and I think this is a picture of the place your talking about right?

    http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/karatouoyaji...

    The sign says "sasebo burger" so I think the place your looking for is "Zats Burger Cafe" which sells that burger.

    http://www.sasebo-burger.jp/

    I checked out their site and the burger looks big! They got a place by Yoyogi station and it looks like their gonna open up in Roppongi next month.

    Also if you like burgers "The Great Burger" just opened in Harajuku and it's been getting great reviews:

    http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/rstdtl/130...

    good luck on ur search!

    8 Replies
    1. re: tokyozilla

      Yes! That's definitely the stall I saw (they also had a small English sign off to the side that's not in the picture -- that's where I saw "The's Hamburger" or whatever it was). I'm in Azabujuban, so I'll definitely keep an eyeout for the Roppongi opening. In the meantime, I checked out the "Great Burger" link you sent, and it looks awesome. I know where I'm eating this weekend :-)

      1. re: marckenton

        I have never been a fan of the Sasebo burger, its a little too Japanese for me. A place called Brozers has a pretty good burger, though more Aussie influenced. My Republican friend took a picture of the Brozers burger, (warning unless you love Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter with all your heart avoid further exploration of his blog).
        http://www.markbossingham.com/mark_bo...

        1. re: steamer

          I've had both Brozer's and Great Burger and while both are good, I think Great Burger is the better of the two. Beacon's are also really good.

      2. re: tokyozilla

        I've seen those at one of the regional fairs at Isetan. There was quite a line for them, too. I wanted to try one but, besides the line, there was a little too much on there for my taste (I prefer burgers with no garnish). I remember thinking the bun looked good.

        Is a Sasebo burger the creation of a particular individual or restaurant, or a regional "specialty," kind of like Okinawa's taco rice?

        1. re: tokyozilla

          I too found Zat's to be a little too foreign as others suggested. Actually Brozers seemed that way too, and it involved a pretty long wait (an hour, on a summer Saturday).

          One alternative if you're willing to travel is Sunny Diner in Kita Senju; I went there recently because I happened to be in KSJ and saw that the Tabelog score was ridiculous. In its genre, I think it deserves the score.

          My loving review, with contact info, here:
          http://iitokorone.blogspot.com/2008/1...

          1. re: jem589

            Thanks Jon, I've heard good things about that place as well.

          2. re: tokyozilla

            There are a few that haven't been mentioned here, so here goes....

            Pe'z Magic - by Nogiazaka Station (Roppongi area) (www.pezmagic.com/
            )Arms Burger - Yoyogi-Hachiman/Yoyogi-Koen station (http://love-burger.net/archives/2007/...
            )Homeworks (http://www.homeworks-1.com/

            )

            Personally, I'm not a fan of Baker Bounce (inside Midtown, Roppongi (http://bakerbounce.com/menu/burger.html)). Their patty has fat/gristle chunks in it and I believe, is deep fried once. They also put way too much butter on the bun (and on the bread if you order a sandwich).

            1. re: Kalik

              Baker Bounce's sandwiches are IMO better than their burgers.

          3. franklins in gotanda best i have had so far.

            in dire need of a cheeseburger one afternoon in the okura hotel, the waiter agreed to make me one even though it wasnt on the menu. while it was very japanese in size and structure, it was damn good, although i seem to recall paying $25 for the burger and $15 for the milkshake.

            1. Forgot about Frisco in Shimo Kitazawa. Excellent burgers grilled over charcoal.
              here is a link scroll down to 52.
              http://shimokitareviews.blogspot.com/...

              7 Replies
              1. re: steamer

                There is a new burger place, recently opened in Omote-sando and Shibuya.
                http://www.quarter-pounder.net/main.html

                I got a flyer last weekend but didn't get a chance to stop by, maybe this weekend.

                1. re: lost squirrel

                  I would guess that's just McDonald's finally introducing their quarter-pounder burger to Japan, and trying to build up some buzz. I'd be surprised if it was anything else.

                  I finally tried the Sasebo burger at Zats Burger Cafe (they were closed the first time I went), and it was somewhat underwhelming. The burger itself was okay, but the gloppy sauces were overpowering, and the fried egg didn't really add much to the experience (other than more cholesterol). I think Zest Premium Burger (in Suidobashi and Hiroo) delivers a better product at that price point.

                  1. re: Robb S

                    There's a great independent burger joint on Yamate Dori, in Nakameguo called Golden Brown. They do a great range of homemade burgers in traditional US style.

                    From Naka Meguro station, turn left towards Shibuya. its about 7 or 8 mins walk on the left (its in Higashiyama cho). Opposite is a great little Ramen shop too.

                    1. re: foreignmuck

                      Finally went to Golden Brown when i was back in Japan last week. Can certainly recommend it..

                      I had their signature burger, the Golden Brown, which is not cheap at 1300 Yen, but certainly worth it.. the juicy beef patty served with multiple slices of smoked cheese, thick cut bacon (a rarity in Japan), plus mushrooms.. Was really well made and packed with flavour, using decent quality meat with quite a high fat content. Bun may have been a tad sweet, as with most bread in Japan, but that's not such a bad thing.

                      Its an classy, old style hamburger joint with all the attention to detail you'd expect from Japan

                      1. re: foreignmuck

                        Does it look anything like Awaji Bruger burgers? Thick home-smoked bacon, real cheese, beef and onions from Awajishima. The best burger I've ever had in Japan.

                         
                    2. re: Robb S

                      Oh no! I think you're right. I didn't see it at first, but now looking at pictures I realize you are most likely right: http://www.enjoytokyo.jp/id/raindogs/...

                      I was really excited about it too, oh well... :(

                      1. re: lost squirrel

                        Yes, that's what it is, a McD that only sells quarter pounders. It is the McD right next to the A2 exit of Omotesando. I believe it is a temporary structure, but they took all the tables away and all they have is takeout. A friend of mine uses that McD as his office/pick-up joint, and he's all torqued that he can't sit there any more.

                2. I went to Fire House Burgers tonight near Marunouchi Hongo Sanchome Station and had a bacon cheeseburger and chocolate shake.

                  The burger patties are relatively large--but more in terms of circumference rather than thickness. They're cooked from frozen and they're covered during the initial cooking stage. This is akin to steaming them, which I find rather egregious. Once the burger is almost cooked, they remove the lids to let the patties brown, like how one makes gyoza. At this time, they also load on some black pepper. I was sitting at the counter, so I could see how they made the burgers. There wasn't a teeny tiny patch of patty that wasn't showered in black pepper. I like black pepper, so this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it completely obscured the flavour of the meat (which perhaps is the point?).

                  I liked the bun--it may have been some sort of egg-based roll. It was soft yet it held up well.

                  They put far too much mayonnaise (and other condiments) on the bun, leading to burger slide (which also happens because the lettuce and I think tomato, are placed on the lower bun). I liked their relish--it might be housemade, but I couldn't tell.

                  The bacon may very well be the pre-cooked bacon you can buy at supermarkets everywhere. It was so thin and flavourless, it may as well not have been there. Cheese might have been cheddar, but if it was, it was mild. Very mild.

                  Fries looked promising, but they were dry and flavourless. I don't blame Fire House for that, but place the blame solely on crappy Japanese potatoes. I tried to put what I thought was steak seasoning on them, but it turned out to be some kind of togarashi (not shichimi, but the other one, I think). It was actually pretty good on the fries.

                  I liked my chocolate milkshake, but it was just vanilla ice cream and Hershey's chocolate syrup. Nothing special, really.

                  Would I go again? If I lived in Tokyo, I might if I couldn't find a better place. The burgers aren't bad, they just aren't as good as they could be. Plus my favourite local burger joint in little ol' Nishinomiya blows Fire House away. (Fire House--Y1200 for bacon cheeseburger with fries, Awaji Burger--Y800 for bacon cheeseburger made with thickly sliced house-smoked bacon and Awaji beef, Y150 for fries).

                  Oh, I liked Fire House's pickle. I don't really like pickles, but this was mild and still had some crunch to it. And I liked the restaurant, itself. It's a cute little place, and you can see all the cooking happening.

                  1. A new favorite of mine is Goro's Burgers, conveniently located 30 seconds walk from my home. Chef Michi (of Michi's Manhattan Beach in LA) just opened a small burger joint 30 seconds from my house (in the other direction). Asanoya buns, and Kobe beef, lunch specials for 1,000 yen. Should try it out soon.

                    http://w-ice.cocolog-nifty.com/blog2/...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Uncle Yabai

                      oh... I have so many trouble to ind a place to lunch on Sundays. Thanks. I have to write a topic on Sunday lunch at Gaienmae