All In A Name: Hanbaga vs Hanbagu

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Photo by Tatsuo Yamashita

If you are in the mood for a succulent ground beef patty, do you seek a ハンバーガー (hanbaga) or ハンバーグ (hanbagu)? The difference in pronunciation seems very minor, but what you get is all in a name. Say “Hanbaga” and you will get an American-style patty in a bun. My favorite burger in Tokyo is JS Burger, and I am satisfied with its juicy goodness every time!

Say “Hanbagu” and you get an entirely different kind of meal. A patty soaked in gravy with a side of rice, veggies and potato—a delicious, hearty dinner plate that resembles a Hamburg steak.

When I crave a hanbaga, I need it to be as untouched by Japanese flavors as possible. No to the soy sauce dressing, and no to Kewpie mayo.

But when I’m in the mood for hanbagu, please pile on the ground daikon, seaweed and green onions!

I’ve been struggling to write about my favorite hanbagu restaurant, as this one is already very popular with locals and the lines to get in can be ridiculous. But I feel it is my duty to spread the word because I know there are others out there who share my passion for beef.

So, here it is… Gold Rush! This place boasts 100 percent ground beef steaks, and its toppings range from classic American (cheese, bacon, and tomatoes) to classic Japanese (grated daikon, nori and green onion) to please all palates. Gold Rush is fabulous for their generous toppings, but the winner is the beef itself. Thick, tender, drippy, flavorful and completely gratifying for my red meat needs.

The meal arrives on a sizzling hot plate, and the server even asks you to hold your napkin up so you aren’t victim to the splattering oils.

The decor is an American “Wild West” theme—both cheesy and awesome. It’s a casual restaurant where smoking is allowed indoors. However, the whole room is fogged up from beef that’s steaming on every table, so the cigarettes blend in and is hardly a bother. But expect to leave the restaurant with your shirt exuding the wonderful aromas of smoky grease.

When ordering, you can choose ground beef steaks that weigh 150 grams, 200 grams, 300 grams, and even 450 grams (1 pound).

Lunch sets are offered Monday to Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for  ¥700 to ¥1,000.

Dinners range from ¥800-1,800 and ladies’ dinner sets include a salad, drink,and dessert with the meal. Sorry gentlemen!

Access:

Open everyday, 11:30am – 10pm

Website (in Japanese): http://www.gold-rush.jp/0.html

Shibuya: 4-7 Tousen Udagawa Building 4F, TEL:03-3496-5971

Shinjuku: 3-35-6 Aunbiru 2F, TEL:03-3351-5658

Topics:    

Traveling, eating, writing through Nihon.
  • maulinator says:

    I like Gold Rush especially the one in Shibuya, but there are better places for Hamburg steak (salisbury steak). Ore no Hamburg Yamamoto in SHibuya and Ebisu etc.. The regular hamburgs are good there, but they also do one with a cream corn center which is pretty awesome. If you want to go a little upscale. the lunch (only) hamburg teaks at Little Lima in Omotesando are excellent. 100% Kobe beef and cooked to perfection.

    The hamburg steaks are Din Don, another chain are decent, but nothing worth visiting specifically for. If you work in the Marunouchi area, go to katana in the Maru Bldg for excellent if pricey hamburg steaks. The 300 gm cheese hamburg steak is excellent but pricey.

    As for burgers, I could go on and on about excellent places, and wil write about it again sone other time.

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