Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Baker Bounce, Sangenjaya (ベーカーバウンス)

So I was just roaming around Sancha, waiting for a liquor store/bar to open at 12 so I could have a few drinks on my way to another appointment (this is what people do in Tokyo. Liquid lunches, all that.), and as I roamed a curious sight hove into view down an extremely typical and very quiet side street.
Heavens, I know that name! I cried. Inwardly, I mean. One doesn't cry out in the streets in Tokyo. It would be a dead giveaway that one doesn't fit in. I figure if I don't engage in open outcry, I can pass for a native and upstanding citizen.

Well, why not? One must sometimes sacrifice novelty for fame. And as the list of posts to the right of the page attests, I am nothing if not a completist about this. Here's what the inside of the original shop looks like (I remember now that they have a branch in Midtown, or did, or something. I'm less of a completist about this stuff than I used to be, you know?) - recreated shabby American diner. How great is that? You'll never be able to go back to a sorta late-40's, early-50's diner in America ever again - no one's going to go back to making the shelves and trim out of wood. The tables were sourced, vintage, in a set, and they all match.

Speaking of 'match', nothing goes better than a set-drink cola, a lunch beer, and some water. Don't you agree? It just seemed like the thing to do, although of course you wouldn't want to alternate between the beer and soda, and I wasn't sure what to drink first. I persevered.
You know right away that you're in Japan by the twee-ness of the presentation. Before I walk about the burger, let me say that the coleslaw was bad. Whatever they're trying to achieve there, they're not, they might be managing it. But if they ARE achieving it, I disagree prima facie with their goals.

The ketchup was weird. And by weird, I mean homemade. They make their own ketchup! And by homemade, I mean "sweetened, smoothed tomato paste". It's awesome that they care enough to make their own ketchup, but ketchup is supposed to have some weird seasonings in it (really, look up a recipe) and just isn't ketchup without vinegar, which this was absent of. Perhaps I should be saying they make their own catsup, and all of this would make sense.

Another thing that doesn't make sense - the chef is constantly firing up and turning off a torch that he uses to melt the cheese and crisp up the bacon. The bacon that they make themselves. I asked one of the guys as I was leaving (since it says 'homemade bacon' on the staff shirts) and he proudly allowed as how they cure and smoke it themselves. That's almost too much, guys.
This is almost too much too. It's a little gross, but burgers aren't supposed to be pretty. Now that you've gotten all the way to this point, let's cut to the chase - I've been eating a lot more burgers recently than I used to, and I would say this can stand up proudly with most of them. By the time you get to the great-burger level, there are enough stylistic differences that you really can't compare, and this has got its own thing going, going well.

Going, going, gonnerino.

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