Out of Burgatory

Even a child can guess the word “hamburger” came about because the original patties were made from solid blocks of ham. There’s no other possibility whatsoever, so let the debate end there. However, historio-burgerologists remain divided on the origin of the hamburger recipe.

Our favorite theory involves Mongolian horsemen. Unable to stop and cook while on the move across the vast plains of Asia, they packed slabs of horseflesh into bags under their saddles. The movement of the horse and their own thrusting buttocks minced and cooked the meat into large proto-burgers.

Eastward expansion brought the Mongolian patty to the Russians in the form of steak tartare, and thence to Hamburg. Finally, in the immigration melting pot of New York, the Hamburg Steak appeared on restaurant menus.

But the dish remained in bunless “Burgatory” until several carnival entrepreneurs  (e.g. Fletcher Davis, the Menches brothers and Charles Nagreen) shoved the patty into a sandwich. When the McDonald brothers got involved, the hamburger’s global fate was sealed.

Decades later, Tokyo chefs have applied their own culinary standards to the tried and tested meal. Tokyoite diners are therefore uniquely placed to scoff the burger in its highest evolutionary incarnation. This is theMetropolis Burger Special!—David Labi


Arms

The Secret…

Arms

Arms

Light, fluffy patties served with minced toppings for a full tasting experience. And a bun made with natural yeast.

The Picks…

Avocado Mushroom Cheese Burger (¥1,350); Popeye Burger (¥1,150).

The Style…

Faithful to the US even down to imported
paint, Arms’ woody décor is opened out to the park during summer months.

The Deal…

Nab yourself a set drink for ¥200 11am-4pm on weekdays. Brunch is available Sat-Sun & hols
8-10:45am.

The Skinny…

Grab to go from takeout branch Arms Picnic in Shinjuku Lumine.

• 5-64-7 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku. Email: arms@utopia.ocn.ne.jp. Tel: 03-3466-5970. Open Tue-Fri 11am-11pm, closed Mon (except hols), Sat-Sun & hols 8am-11pm. Nearest stn: Harajuku.
• B2 Lumine, 1-1-5 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 03-6302-0039. Open daily 10am-10pm (when
Lumine is open). Nearest stn: Shinjuku
• Takeout & Delivery: 1-9-21 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3466-5974. Open daily 11am-10pm. Nearest stn: Yoyogi Koen.
http://www.arms-burger.com


AS Classics Diner

The Secret…

No processed ingredients or additives used, and that goes for the buns, bacon, sausages, potatoes, sauces

AS Classics Diner

AS Classics Diner

—and, naturally, the charcoal-grilled patties.

The Picks…

Bacon smoked with hickory and cherry blossom; brandy-stewed and charcoal baked apple, and fall-off-the-bone pork rib. Try the Bacon Cheese Burger at both branches (¥1,404).

The Style…

US diner from the ’50 or ’60s in both décor and music—with the Komazawa branch close to the gorgeous Olympic Park, and the downtown venue tucked away in stylish Roppongi Hills.

The Deal…

Lunch set menus with a drink, plus a monthly-changing dinner menu after 6pm.

The Skinny…

American-sized portions, and 100% pure beef hamburgers minced by hand with a knife to preserve the steak-like texture.

• Roppongi: B1F Roppongi Hills Metro Hut, 6-4-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Open daily 11am-10pm. Tel: 03-6721-1581
• 1F Orion Komazawa Bldg, 5-9-22 Yagumo, Meguro-ku. Open Wed-Mon 9am-11pm, closed Tue. Tel: 03-5701-5033. Nearest stn: Komazawa Daigaku.
http://www.asclassics.co.jp


Bakuro Common

The Secret…

Bakuro Common

Bakuro Common

Every good burger has one thing in common—all its components are handmade, with love and style.

The Picks…

Cypriot halloumi cheese. Need we say more?

The Style…

Ultra-cool Brooklyn chic with the demanding stomach of a New York foody.

The Deal…

At lunch, get a “Med” salad and a drink with your burger for just ¥980.

The Skinny…

Wines fitting the Mediterranean concept are joined by artisan, innovative and iconoclastic bottles that will make you think (as well as drink).

• 1F, 3-12-7 Higashinihonbashi, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-6661-1657.
Email: bakuro@easygoing.co.jp. Open daily noon-11pm. Nearest stn: Higashinihonbashi or Bakuroyokoyama.
http://www.facebook.com/bakurocommon


Brooklyn Pancake House

The Secret…

Brooklyn Pancake House

Brooklyn Pancake House

A healthy-sized patty (130g) of pure Japanese beef, cooked on an open-fire grill to bring out the natural flavor.

The Picks…

Premium Brooklyn Hamburger with French fries (¥1,100)—or add Gorgonzola cheese and go Italiano.

The Style…

Transport yourself to a secret, solitary house in Brooklyn.

The Deal…

The weekday lunch set (11:30am-4pm) comes with a drink and salad.

The Skinny…

US-style buttermilk pancakes; New York strip steak (350g).

• 1F, 6-14-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3409-2018. Open daily 11:30am-8pm. Nearest stn: Meiji-Jingumae.


Burger Mania

The Secret…

Burger Mania

Burger Mania

A balanced combo of the finest ingredients: natural-yeast buns, 100% beef patties, and market-fresh veg. And the owner’s long experience in the burger trade, of course.

The Picks…

The famous Cherry Burger (Hiroo & Ebisu), pairing dark, sweet cherries with cream cheese and the rough texture of the patty—is only to be had at Burger Mania. Also try the pancakes (from ¥700), and homemade meatballs.

The Style…

The owner skipped out to New York City with his designer for inspiration—and produced this slice of the Apple in Tokyo Town.

The Deal…

Stop in for lunch (11am-4pm) and get a drink for ¥200 and a free upsize of your fries. Weekdays (3-6pm) offer a drink and pancake for ¥1,000.

The Skinny…

The Ebisu branch just opened in March 2014 to add to the popular Shirokane and Hiroo venues. Ebisu’s specialty is craft beer on tap (from ¥500) and great Joe from Onbus Coffee.

• 1F, 4-9-5 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 11am-midnight. Tel: 03-6277-4221. Email: burgermania2008@gmail.com. Nearest stn: Ebisu. Shirokane and Hiroo details:
http://www.burger-mania.com


Café Hohokam

The Secret…

Café Hohokam

Café Hohokam

It’s all about the bun—the highest quality possible, made with natural yeast.

The Picks…

The Apple and Gorgonzola Burger boasts two perfectly matched ingredients, while the signature Hohokam Burger spices up your life with jalapeños, cheddar cheese and plenty of chili sauce.

The Style…

Raise Arizona with a retro ambiance themed on the US desert.

The Deal…

Weekday lunch specials kick in from 11:30am-4pm.

The Skinny…

Chill among the cacti on an outdoor terrace—with a cover to keep the rain off your parade.

• 2F, 3-22-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 11:30am-11pm (LO-10:30pm). Tel: 03-5775-5708. Nearest stn: Meiji-Jingumae.
http://www.cafe-hohokam.com


Chiles Mexican Grill

The Secret…

Chiles Mexican Grill

Chiles Mexican Grill

A tasty burrito should be packed with warm beans and rice, fresh vegetables and authentic Mexican salsa.

The Picks…

Pibil Burrito (¥980)—fried pork in orange sauce with Achiote Mayan roux; Taco Salad (from ¥880); shio koji grilled steak.

The Style…

Enter the casa of a true mexicano—with the real stuff in the kitchen, too.

The Deal…

The weekday lunch set includes a drink and salad or chips (11:30am-3:30pm). Stop in Tue-Fri 4-8pm for ¥400 drinks and the enchilada plate (¥980).

The Skinny…

Shakes made from soy milk, plus a variety of sweets including ice cream as soft as silk.

The MET…

Metropolis readers get 10% off on any main menu item between 3:30-6pm any day.

• 1-8-24 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Open daily 9am-9pm. Tel: 03-6434-9693. Nearest stn: Meiji-Jingumae.
http://meturl.com/chilesmex