Cherry and I finally made it! Located in the Georgetown neighborhood of South Seattle, Katsu Burger specializes in Japanese influenced Katsu-style burgers. For anyone unfamiliar with the term katsu, it essentially means breaded and deep-fried. Traditionally, you can find tonkatsu (deep-fried and breaded pork cutlet) at Teriyaki restaurants and chicken katsu (chicken instead of pork) at Hawaiian restaurants. But what the heck is a katsu burger?! Exactly like it sounds, a breaded and deep-fried beef patty between two buns with a variety of Japanese influenced ingredients. I know… gluttony incarnate. Meats used here, are growth hormone and antibiotic free and their beef patties are all hand formed. It is a fairly small restaurant only seating about 20-people comfortably. The walls are brightly painted with Japanese-themed art and a large World map where visitors can pin where they’re from.
The nori (dried & seasoned seaweed) fries were a refreshing alternative to traditional salted fries. Seasoned nori has a nice balance of sweet and savory flavor, and atop the crispy fries, worked great. I personally love wasabi, but for those unfamiliar with the flavor, it is very similar to horseradish or Chinese hot mustard. So too much can definitely get your eyes watering! The wasabi mayo was well made – it carried a good strong flavor and was countered well by the mayo. Cherry’s favorite dipping sauce is honey mustard, so naturally she gravitated towards the miso honey mustard. The sauce had a very subtle miso undertone and overall was fairly sweet.
This burger was a behemoth! I mean just look at the picture!! Lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickles also added to the party, to provide a tower of goodness. Cherry had to exercise the “hand smash” technique in order to fit a bite in. The first thing I noticed when biting in, was the spice. Since the jalapeños were layered on the bottom with the spicy mayo beneath the patty, you feel an immediate kick. The next thing I noticed was the beef patty. I don’t think meager is in Katsu Burger’s dictionary, because under the bun was a huge (what seemed like half-pound) beef patty that was breaded and deep-fried. I don’t know how they managed to stack everything between the two buns without requiring rebar throughout! The tonkatsu sauce, which in my opinion tastes somewhere between a tangy BBQ sauce and a sweet and sour sauce works well. You get a soft sweetness to each bite that isn’t as bright and tart as ketchup. Katsu burger was smart in adding this sauce to help offset the heat that comes with the jalapeños and spicy mayo. The one thing I would say about this burger, is that the katsu-style patty doesn’t work for me. Ground beef doesn’t hold the crunch very well and the breading lost it’s texture halfway through the burger. By the end, its texture was like a regular patty.
I love Ninjas! When I was little, I wanted to be one when I got older… it’s still a possibility… So when it came to ordering, I had to go with the Ninja Deluxe burger! I feel this burger is a great example of American/Japanese Fusion. Everything that that is loved about a bacon cheeseburger fused with the deep fried goodness of tonkatsu. Katsu Burger really hit it outta the park with this one – the tonkatsu was fried perfectly with a dark golden brown color and a crunch that could be heard at the next table. The Japanese mayo added a nice creamy texture to everything and the tonkatsu sauce was perfect in blending everything together. Unlike the beef patty, the pork cutlet maintains great crunch and texture through the last bite. Unfortunately, the bacon, although present, was lost in translation. Writing this, I am surprised in not remembering the bacon flavor! I guess this is a great example of fighting fire with fire. Bacon, a normally with a strong flavored ingredient was unfortunately overtaken the only other force worthy and powerful enough to do so – deep-fried pork cutlet.
Off the beaten path and in an industrial part of the city, is the small and uniquely Seattle, Katsu Burger. If meat is not you’re cup of tea, tofu is also offered as an alternative. One thing that was nice to see here is that they will substitute any type of meat/tofu in any of their burgers at no charge. Aside from beef, pork, and tofu, chicken is also offered as an option. These days, you’d be hard pressed to find places that offer free substitutions. Also offered here, are uniquely flavored hand-dipped shakes. The special flavror at the time was green tea & pineapple. One word to describe it - amazing! Despite the the katsu beef losing it’s crunch and lack of bacon flavor, I can easily overlook all that due to the overall impression Katsu Burger has made on my taste buds and my stomach. They are officially jumping into the #2 spot of my Toppings! The only thing keeping me making Katsu Burger part of my daily routine is my cholesterol level!