Fukuburger’s Egg Burger is as Good as it Sounds
There is so much to hate about Fukuburger, the new “American hamburgers with a Japanese twist” joint that opened on Cahuenga in Hollywood last week. There’s the yelling when you walk in. The “hip” urban Asian (urbasian?) decor, which looks like a fancy design firm was told to Kogi-Truck-ify a bar for anime characters. Then there is the giant flat screen displaying real time tweets that mention @fukuburger, and the waitresses forcing you to come up with a nickname for your table- “no real names, please!” After a bit of prodding our waitress put as down as the Purple People Eater, a name she came up with for us based on my wife’s favorite color. Are we having fun yet!?
It all seems a bit too gimmicky, which shouldn’t be a complete shock considering that Fukuburger started off as a food truck in Vegas, and was brought to L.A. by the same people who own Pink Taco (the ultimate in trendy gimmicks, in a city full of gimmicks, by people who specialize in gimmicks.) So, it wasn’t entirely shocking when the whole staff broke out into a “When I say FUKU, you say BURGER” chant. Seriously… are we having fun yet or what?!
And yet, I’m willing to forgive a lot when we’re talking about a burger topped with egg, onion strings, and teriyaki sauce. Fukuburger me!
The menu has 5 different burgers , all $7, with toppings like bacon, red ginger, shitake mushrooms, and wasabi mayo. There’s also a chicken katsu sandwich, a kimchi topped hot dog that could be served at Japadog in Montreal, and two versions of loco moco, one with a hamburger, and one with a hot dog, (both topped with a super peppery brown gravy.)
But my decision was made long before I walked in. The #2 Tamago (“Egg Burger”).
The #2 burger (which has been marinted in some kind of sauce) comes topped with a fried egg, onion strings, wasabi mayo, teriyaki sauce and furikake, a Japanese seasoning mixture. It was as amazing as it sounded. The egg, the super crunchy onion strings, the mayo, the sweet teriyaki sauce. A perfect mess. Under the sweet teriyaki sauce it was hard to taste the wasabi part of the mayo or the nuances of the burger patty, but if nuance is what you’re looking for, you probably shouldn’t be going to Fukuburger. The size of the burger was what you’d expect for $7, especially considering how many toppings you get, and the bun was perfect for the genre; not so big that it drowned out the innards, but not too dainty that it falls apart under the weight of the sauces and toppings.
Even though the sauces and toppings do a lot to relegate the meat to second fiddle, they still do a good job with the patty itself. Good grind on the meat, great char on the outside from the griddle, and their default is a perfect medium to medium rare. (They didn’t ask how we wanted the burger cooked, it just came that way.) I was kind of impressed.
There are also Wendys-but-better style fries for $3, which come with garlic salt and shichimi spice (and a $4 version that comes topped with a super peppery gravy and “crack sauce”, whatever that is.)
So is Fukuburger the next Umami, by way of Kogi? Not likely. The mushroom burger ended up way sweeter and saucier and not nearly as good as the egg burger. And a friend told me she downright hated the spicy burger and the soggy chicken katsu sandwich. And there will likely be those who find the sauces too cloying, and the flavors too muddled, and the dishes too over the top. Go in expecting Kogi, you’ll probably be disappointed by the simple flavors. Go in expecting Umami, and you’ll be disappointed by burgers that clearly started off as food truck fare.
But the price is right, and it is their first week and maybe they need a bit of fine tuning. And I thought that egg burger was pretty spectacular. So much so I didn’t mind being called Purple People Eater by a shouting expediter.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- There is nothing better than a burger topped with a fried egg, onion strings and teriyaki sauce!
- At $7 it’s pretty cheap considering how many cool toppings you get.
- Despite being covered by all sorts of junk, the burger patties are still done well.
- I LOVE Kogi… I’m guessing I’ll like this too.
- They just opened! Don’t be so harsh… I’m sure they’ll work out their issues.
- Did I mention that egg burger is amazing?
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- What a mess of flavors. If I want an Asian influenced burger, I’d rather pay a few bucks extra and eat at Umami.
- Some of the sauces are a bit too much.
- I’m a burger purist. Hate when people put all that shit on a hamburger.
- Don’t mind toppings, but I still want to be able to taste the meat.
- You can take the food out of the truck, but you can’t take the truck out of the food.
- Do you really need to shout so much? I’m sure it was adorable from a truck, but now your customers are surrounded by walls and a ceiling.
Fukuburger, 1634 Cahuenga Blvd. 323-464-3858