Long ago, fast food chain Wendy’s poked fun at the meager size of some restaurants’ hamburgers with a series of commercials asking “Where’s the beef?” Whoever came up with that advertising slogan would be proud of the chefs at a new restaurant in Tokyo’s Shibuya, which serves a cheeseburger so massive we had to ask, “Where’s the bun?”
We were in a carnivorous mood recently, so we decided to visit the Shibuya branch of Ushigoro Bambina, which is managed by the same group that also runs the Ushigoro yakiniku restaurant in the posh Nishi Azabu district. Shibuya is a more casual and rambunctious part of town, though, and the first floor of Bambina is a standing bar. The second and third floors of the building have tables and private dining rooms, respectively.
We didn’t have to look over the menu for very long, as we almost immediately settled on the restaurant’s signature dish, the Bambina beef burger, which comes with 260 grams (9.2 ounces) worth of patties. Aside from those massive piles of meat, the burger also includes bacon, onion, and tomato, and the whole thing is smothered in cheese.
What we couldn’t find, though, was a bun.
Seriously, it looks like a salad impaled against a steak. Are they sure this is really a cheeseburger?
As it turns out, there is indeed one piece of bread buried underneath the meat and veggies. The top half of the bun is missing in action though, so really this is an open-faced sandwich.
We had a more pressing concern than this naming debate, though, as we had no idea how to go about eating our massive meal. With only half a bun, we couldn’t grab it with our hands unless we wanted our fingers to get covered in cheese. At the same time, taking out that skewer would clearly send the whole edible tower toppling over.
In the end, the only thing to do was grab a knife and fork and start carving it like a Thanksgiving turkey.
▼ There’s nothing like a giant mound of beef to instill a feeling of gratitude in you.
The size of the Bambino beef burger doesn’t mean the restaurant skimped on quality, though. The meat was tender and practically dissolved in our mouthes, while leaving a juicy deliciousness behind.
Really, the only potential problem we can foresee with Bambino’s colossal sandwich is that it might be too much of a good thing, as it could be hard to finish if you’re usually a small eater or just not feeling particularly hungry. Thankfully, having to slice the burger off its load-bearing post makes it easy to share with a friend (or two).
Ushigoro Bambina – Shibuya Branch
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Sakuragaokacho 16-9, Shibuya Xe Building
東京都渋谷区桜丘町16-9 渋谷 Xe ビル
Open 5 p.m.-midnight
[ Read in Japanese ]