Everyone seems to agree that the best burger joint in Tokyo is A&G Diner in fancy-schmancy Jingumae. It tops the lists on Gourmet and B Gourmet blogs and gossip sites and is the first name out of the mouths of my restaurant critic friends.
I decided to check it out for myself to see if the taste lived up to the hype and glam of Jingumae. I went in to attack an A&G Diner burger with abandon, but, as it turns out, the burger attacked me . . .
The first thing I noticed was the small size of the restaurant interior. There was probably enough space for four adults to sit and dine, but really only for one or two to sit comfortably. There were two chairs on the terrace overlooking the street. I lucked out and got to sit at the indoor table.
I made myself comfortable and ordered the most popular item on the menu, the bacon cheeseburger. Since I truly enjoy my work, I decided to indulge on fish and chips and a mojito as well. All food is made to order at A&G, so make sure you leave plenty of time to order and eat. The bacon cheeseburger took about 15 minutes; the fish and chips five or six.
The mountainous bacon cheeseburger bulged in every direction with super-juicy meat and toppings. I could tell at first glance that I would probably need to ask for a bib to eat the thing properly, if only I could figure out how to get my mouth around it first! I clamped both hands around the burger and squeezed down, and I was nearly showered with meaty juices as I hurried to eat up.
The meat and toppings worked together in a perfect symphony of flavor and aroma. Bells rang inside my head as I succumbed to the savory taste of the bun, the deep mellowness of the cheese, the unhealthily damning aroma of the bacon and the sinfully juicy patty. The lettuce crunched beautifully and the tomato brought out a refreshing balance. This bacon cheeseburger was unlike any I’d ever eaten before!
Let’s face it, it’s hard to go wrong when you combine a ground beef patty, bacon, and cheese on a sandwich. Sprinkle salt and pepper at the right time and you’ve reached the taste plateau of many a burger joint. But many a time, I’ve walked away from such burgers with discord ringing in my mouth, because rare is the burger joint that strives to capture harmony between the bun, the meat and the toppings.
It is here that A&G Diner pulls even further away from the crowd. I could feel the passion and relentless pursuit of excellence behind this ideal burger. The fragrant bacon and meat patty were subtly savory, and the high-grade cheese enveloped that taste perfectly. The crisp, fresh lettuce and tomato kept the oiliness of the meat and cheese in check. And the bun played a supporting role, providing the stage for the other ingredients to jump around and make beautiful music together.
Even the French fries knocked my socks off. Peeled steak fries came with the burger, but regular julienned fries accompanied the fish and chips. I prefer the fries that came with the fish and chips – the surface was nice and rough and the seasoning produced a sharp, definite taste and texture. I thought it was a nice touch to have two different types of fries; it seems that would keep patrons from getting tired of one or the other.
Hamburgers are supposed to be a fun junk food that anyone and everyone can eat with a smile. The A&G bacon cheeseburger takes it to a higher level, hijacking your senses and no doubt producing even wider smiles. Excuse me, I think I’m going to need a new bib . . .
Okamoto Bldg. 1F, 3-41-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Open 11:30-22:30 weekdays, 11:30-18:00 Sundays and holidays, closed Tuesdays
Written/translated by Mac Denny from original RocketNews24 article by Correspondent Kuzo
*We used 3D images in this article. Readers using a devices capable of viewing 3D images can download the 3D image files at http://goo.gl/fn9tm.
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