Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kua'aina, Marunouchi (Shin Maru 5)

In the heady days when we worked and lunched in Roppongi, I used to provide lengthy discourses to anyone who would listen on the Roppongi burger scene. With a solid half-dozen notable places (not including fast food like McDonald's or First Kitchen or Freshness or Mos, and definitely not including Japanese-style ham-ba-gu), it was certainly possible to differentiate by style and then rank on cost performance.

Along with the global Credit Crunch, a Financial Tsunami of Unprecedented Proportions and Various Other Superlatives, we've suffered a genuine Burger Crunch. Am I missing them? Where are the burgers around Otemachi?

Today we made the mildly long trek down to Maru Biru, and the 5th floor, wherein resides the Hawaiian burger specialist chain Kua'Aina. It's been many years (over 4!) since I started hearing about this place from my friend McNoonan, but today was the first time I visited. When I mentioned this, Wolf immediately said "You're going to think the burgers are dry". He was right, but this isn't a grumpy review.

I didn't check out the menu that much - you can choose your burger (there are tuna sandwiches and stuff too), you can choose toppings (avocado, bacon, 3 or 4 cheeses) and you can get onion rings or fries. What else do you need? The burgers are a good size, a little big for Japan, have a strong flame-grilled taste like The Whopper, and are, yes, dry. I can only imagine that this results from using healthy foreign beef. Fries were adequate - very thin and with the odd sort of 'breaded' exterior that I met at Sunny Diner. Everything comes on wooden plates that I think might be attempts to reference longboards, and hovers between Y1000 and Y1200. Kowabunga!

Since I think I'm the only person in Tokyo that had never been to Kua-Aina, how about I stop there? I must say though, this week's lunches have been a cut above the first 3. There's hope.



  1. Kua'Aina- been there once. Don't plan to go back.

    You've seen that Japanese blogger who obsessively blogs about burgers he's eaten?

  2. Had it a few times before and quite liked the sandwiches. The branch in Odaiba(not sure if it is still there) has really nice view overlooking the bridge.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I had not seen the burger blog, but will be sure to visit from time to time. Seems like he's into eccentric burgers, whereas I'm mainly in favor of getting a specific Americana fix!

    Seat, you've been EVERYWHERE a few times before. I'm always amazed.