Burgers are America's prototypical non-threatening food, but when Hajime Sato started tinkering with beef patties, he instigated a collective freak-out. Breading on a burger? Katsu on a bun? Is it good? (Remember, this is the same Sato who tested customers' willingness to trust him by striking every non-sustainable fish from the menu at Mashiko.)
Yes, yes and hell, yes. By deviating from burger expectations, Sato came up with an instant contender for the city's best burger title. The hand-formed patties at Katsu Burger are made with high-quality beef that even a cretin couldn't confuse with industrial meat, its flavors and juices locked in by the panko crust.
The starter burger is the relatively minimalist Tokyo Classic, topped with Japanese mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce, but the menu gets more baroque from there. Other preparations feature fried eggs, bacon, pineapple, curry mayonnaise and more beef patties, challenging jaws along with narrow minds.
I'm not sure there's much benefit in piling on meats, though: I'd rather make a meal of nori fries with wasabi mayonaise, a green tea milkshake and the Godzilla Attack, in which the burger shares bun space with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, spicy mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce. The peppers add a terrific crunch to the sandwich, and the mayo's heat is the ideal counterpart to the wig of cooling cabbage that graces every Katsu patty. Name aside, there's absolutely nothing to fear here.