MOS Burger

Monday, August 15, 2011
MOS Burger – 2-53-3 Hatagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
(2-53-3幡ヶ谷、渋谷、東京、日本)
Burger:
Tobikiri Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
5
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
5 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
¥390/$4.88 AUD/$5.07 USD
Summary

Whilst working in Los Angeles in the 1960s, founder Satoshi Sakurada frequented a local hamburger chain called Tommy’s. Inspired by the ‘cook to order’ concept, Mr. Sakurada hit on the idea that this kind of hamburger joint would be just as popular with his fellow countrymen. After returning to Japan, Mr. Sakurada set up the first MOS Burger in Tokyo in 1972. Taking inspiration from their name “Mountain, Ocean, Sun” and slogan “Making people happy through food” MOS Burger has grown to the 2nd largest burger chain in Japan (behind McDonald’s) with over 1,400 outlets throughout, and with another 100 spread across Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. We had been hearing rumours of MOS expanding to Australia for a while and after the opening of a Brisbane “Test Run Store” in March, we decided that we had to check out the original. Each of us grabbed a different item but I grabbed the Tobikiri Cheeseburger (Superb Cheeseburger) that came on a soft whole-grain bun, 100% Japanese beef + pork mince pattie, melted Japanese Gouda, HS Pepper Soy Sauce and onion slices.

Comments
“There are one of two things going through your mind right now: 1) “Holy cow, is that a river of ooze on the side of that burger?” Or, 2) “Wow that Z bloke is one sexy mf”. Either way, you are right. This thing came out dripping in cheese – it was insane. Through some broken english, we found out that the mystery drippy cheese was indeed Japanese Gouda. The entire thing had a teriyaki vibe to it though, with soy sauce and cheese being the most dominant flavours. Like most of the burgers here, it was bite sized. So if you wanted to get full you’d probably need at least 10 of these things. But I wouldn’t recommend it as the cheesiness is a little overbearing. So all in all, it wasn’t my favourite style of burger in the world, but it was still definitely worth the experience.”


Station Hotel

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Station Hotel – 59 Napier St, Footscray, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Station Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$18
Summary

Dating back to 1864, this typical Aussie pub is breathing new life thanks to experienced head chef and owner Sean Donovan. With an impressive CV that includes the likes of three Michelin star restaurants like La Tante Claire (London) and Georges Blanc (France), and more recently South Yarra’s famous Botanical, it was safe to say we went into this Adventure with some high expectations. You step into what appears to be a pretty normal looking pub, until you walk into the dining area where you’ll find the heartbeat of the venue. Its the the open kitchen where a team of chefs serve up everything from Onion Soup Gratinee to grass and grain fed Aussie beef, seafood and of course, there are the more traditional pub dishes. We ordered the Station Burger that came out partially deconstructed – a beef pattie, bacon and gruyere cheese all on a brioche bun, then the lettuce, pickles, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato chutney were all “add as you please”, placed neatly on the side.

Comments
“I really like it when the “local pub” puts such an emphasis on the quality of dining and it’s menu. This well thought out burger came out of the kitchen looking great. A well presented burger that had a thick, juicy and near perfectly cooked pattie, just a little pink on the inside. However, I think the bun could do with improvement, as I’m not sure whether it was just too dense and heavy or it was just not as fresh as it could have been. The sun-dried tomatoes were a point of difference; still not sure if a good one though. The side of chutney had a nice sweet tang, but not really sure if it was necessary. The other sides of pickles and lettuce were also quite fresh. All in all, this was a good burger, but it just needed a better bun (and maybe kept a little more simple) to take it up a notch.”
“Compliments to the waitress who let us know that the beef was going to be a little pink on the inside (which was ideal for us). To me this burger came out exactly as it should of: a large slab of expertly cooked, pink and juicy beef, a couple of thick pieces of bacon and a small amount of gruyere cheese, all on a dense bun worthy of containing the juicyness. Really, this in itself was enough. I’m not sure why they bothered putting a really strong tomato chutney, sun-dried tomatoes, lettuce and pickles on the side as they could only take away from and spoil the most important flavours. Overall I thought it was a fantastic burger but don’t bother with the other condiments, just give me fries instead. Ps. I did add the pickle.”
“I love a good modern day take on the traditional Pub Burger. The pattie was tasty; big and juicy. The bun was filling and the herb butter on the bottom bun and on the pattie were a nice touch. The pickles and lettuce on the side were fresh and well prepared. I ended up adding the sun-dried tomatoes to the burger – sure, it was a different take, but I’m not convinced that it worked.”
“This one had such potential. It really looked the business. You could even see the juices slowly oozing out of it! I was a little unsure how to approach it though. I totally understand the theory behind building your own burger and making it the way you want to make it but, I feel like Chef Donovan is in a position to flex his muscles a little and really show his guests the best way to enjoy his creation. I mean, if it tasted better with sundried tomatoes, I wouldn’t even have known it, because for me they’re just added wank. In saying that, the meat really did shine. It was simple, flavourful and awesome. But everything else was just OK. The bun for me was way too sweet. It didn’t taste all that fresh and was alot more doughy than what is necessary when it comes to brioche. If I was ever on that side of town again though, I’d be back for sure, purely for the amazing pattie.”
Station Hotel on Urbanspoon


MOS Burger

Thursday, June 30, 2011
MOS Burger – 2-53-3 Hatagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
(2-53-3幡ヶ谷、渋谷、東京、日本)
Burger:
MOS Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
2 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
¥350/$4.10 AUD/$4.35 USD
Summary

Whilst working in Los Angeles in the 1960s, founder Satoshi Sakurada frequented a local hamburger chain called Tommy’s. Inspired by the ‘cook to order’ concept, Mr. Sakurada hit on the idea that this kind of hamburger joint would be just as popular with his fellow countrymen. After returning to Japan, Mr. Sakurada set up the first MOS Burger in Tokyo in 1972. Taking inspiration from their name “Mountain, Ocean, Sun” and slogan “Making people happy through food” MOS Burger has grown to the 2nd largest burger chain in Japan (behind McDonald’s) with over 1,400 outlets throughout, and with another 100 spread across Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. We had been hearing rumours of MOS expanding to Australia for a while and after the opening of a Brisbane “Test Run Store” in March, we decided that we had to check out the original. Each of us grabbed a different item but I had my eyes set on the MOS Cheeseburger that came on a soft whole-grain bun, a beef + pork mince pattie, Australian cheese, thick slice of tomato, onion, mayonnaise, American mustard and the classic MOS meat sauce.

Comments
“The best way to describe this burger is basically a McDonald’s Cheeseburger with a large dollop of Bolognese sauce on it. If it were any bigger it would have been a total mess however, I avoided all of that nonsense by scoffing it down in 3 bites. Sure, MOS is essentially a fast-food chain, but I noticed the locals were’nt treating it as fast-food; more like a place to hang out and unwind. There were kids studying and office workers kicking back, playing video games and puffing on cigarettes in the enclosed smoking areas. Also unlike some of the big chains, each burger is cooked to order. This may see you waiting a little longer but its worth the wait as the burgers come out fresh and hot.”


The Burger Lounge

Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Burger Lounge – 902 Main Rd, Eltham, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Lounge Signature Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
12 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$12.50
Summary

If you look down the main street of Eltham on a Sunday night you’d say its a pretty quiet place. That is, until you spot The Burger Lounge. Its no wonder MP Steve Herbert (State Member for Eltham) recently nominated these guys for a 2011 Telstra Business Award; they are killing it. One of our readers had recommended The Burger Lounge to us, but it was safe to say this is not what we were expecting. People are everywhere; either scrambling for a table or picking up takeaway orders. The music is pumping and the lights are dimmed making the interior look more like a CBD cafe/bar than the everyday suburban burger joint that most of us are used to. We somehow managed to score a couple of seats outside and watched with astonishment as more and more people rolled in. It was crazy. After a bit of deliberation and going over their menu a million times we ordered the Lounge Signature Burger that came with a 100% prime organic beef pattie stuffed with havarti cheese, basted with a balsamic glaze, pickled cucumber, red onion, lettuce, tomato, relish & herb aioli.

Comments
“The first thing that took me by surprise was how unbelievably busy this “burger lounge” was. All of the burger’s individual ingredients seemed really fresh and of good quality but the whole package didn’t come together as well as I expected for a specialty burger shop. I wasn’t really sold on the idea of the havarti stuffed pattie as it didn’t add anything special and just seemed more like a gimmick. The pickles were good, but the whole thing seemed to be masked by it’s relish. I think it could’ve been a better burger if it were more simple.”
“After much heated debate about what burger to choose from their extensive menu, I lost. I would have preferred to try the Classic with Cheese, but the guys were hoping to try something new. The idea of some cheese that I’ve never heard of before stuffed inside beef just doesnt float my boat. It sounds like too much preperation and therefore not the freshest beef possible. Saying that, the beef still tasted great, but I didn’t actually notice the small lump of cheese in it’s centre as the mayo and strong chutney sauce overpowered it. Overall a very filling and messy experience. I can’t say I’ve ever been to Eltham before but in what seems like a sleepy pocket of Melbourne, full of fresh air, trees and birds, this place is doing a roaring trade.”
“Something about this burger really unsettled me. As I started eating it I could taste this flavour that would linger and semi-ruin the whole experience. After much discussion (debate) with the team I came to the conclusion that the relish was completely taking over in a bad way. By the time I had reached the end of the burger the bun looked more like a soggy, messy car wreck. So really the pro’s were only the pattie and pickles. I’d label the burger average, but only by a fraction. Chips were good.”
“My first impression was Great, weird bread again. Then I got a bit excited about trying our first burger with stuffed cheese inside the pattie. Sadly, the havarti was the wrong choice of cheese for the job, because once I bit in it didn’t ooze out at all. It just ended up going hard and rubbery like a Boccocini or Oaxaca cheese. On its own, the beef was actually pretty good; seasoned well and quite tasty. I wasn’t sure whether it was the balsamic glaze or the havarti but I did get a few sour hints with every bite. The Turkish/Foccacia style bun was way too big for the burger and I was left with just bread that I didn’t eat. Like we’ve all said, this place has the locals in a furor, so I’ll have to go back to try their Classic. As for their Signature though, I’d re-write it.”
Burger Lounge on Urbanspoon


Houston’s

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Houston’s – 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Century City, California, USA
Burger:
Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
13 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$15 USD
Summary

Houston’s originally opened it’s Los Angeles doors in 1977; their name paying homage to founder, owner and current CEO George Biel’s home state of Texas. But by the time you read this, they may have already converted. In the recent years Houston’s has been taken over by the Hillstone Restaurant Group where it sits alongside about 45 other restaurants and 11 different brands. Slowly but surely the Hillstone name is taking over, but according to them, for the better. For as long as some local Californians can remember Houston’s has been delivering some of the best burgers going around. Hillstone is doing its bit to try and keep it that way, really driving home that they’re still a family owned business, seemingly worried about causing cracks in their foundations.
The decor is classy but without being pretentious. You’ll notice dimmed lighting and dark woods whilst traditional American booths line the back wall of the restaurant; perfect for dates, business dinners or just a casual burger review. I grabbed myself the Cheeseburger that came with fresh-ground chuck, cheddar, tomato, lettuce and onion on a house-made bun. On the side you’ll get an enormous portion of thinly cut fries with a choice of three dipping sauces: mayo, mustard or ketchup.

Comments
“I’d been mooching off a friend living up in the Hollywood hills all week, and when it came to burger talk, she insisted Houston’s was one of the best. All I had been told so far was that it was a pretty old school steakhouse sort-of-joint, but I immediatley had fears that it wouldnt live up to the hype since earlier in the week I’d had the pleasure of dining at one of LA’s finest and notorious steakhouses, Mastro’s. (Amazing steaks and creamed corn to die for – do it if you have the chance).
We sat down in our booth and I already felt kind of horrible – not because of the restaurant or the usual hangover – but because my two lovely dining partners had just begun some ridiculous cleansing detox diet that day… Suckers! When my cheeseburger (and their salads and rice) came out I wasn’t overly impressed. It looked like any other hamburger going around. Once I had put in all the appropriate ingredients it took a step straight up. The first bite was so juicy, so saucy and really one of the best cooked patties I’d eaten in a while, with just the right shade of pink throughout. The cheddar was good and so was the bun, but like any good burger should, the pattie really stole the show making me regret adding in all that extra lettuce and tomato. There really wasn’t anything crazy unique about this, some may even call it boring, but it was just a Traditional American burger done right.”
Houston's on Urbanspoon


Jones the Grocer

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Jones The Grocer – 1341 DANDENONG RD, CHADSTONE
(CHADSTONE SHOPPING CENTRE), VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Burger:
Jones Wagyu Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$16
Summary

In 1996, in the prominent Syndey suburb of Woollahra, Jones the Grocer opened their flagship store. Recognising a new growth in café culture they sought out to offer their customers fantastic service and produce (like a great café), but then also sold all their produce for use in everyday living (like deli). So when Chadstone Shopping Centre went through an epic makeover in 2009 they looked to Jones The Grocer for something new and different that many shoppers hadn’t yet experienced. The big glass structure that is Jones the Grocer Chadstone is hard to miss when trying to find a park. Feel free to browse their produce like fresh bread, cured meats, international jams and most notoriously, the cheeses in the their walk in cheese room. But, if you can’t wait to get home to try your purchases you can always dine in. Jones’ menu caters for both the early risers and the afternoon shoppers offering everything from traditional breakfasts, all the way to freshly prepared baguettes, pasta, risottos and salads for lunch. Most importantly of course is the Jones Wagyu burger. It comes with a Wagyu beef pattie, bacon, lettuce, gruyere, Jones bois boudran sauce and olive oil chips. Now all thats left to do is decide whether you prefer this or Capital Kitchen’s Cheeseburger just around the corner.

Comments
“I wasn’t sold on this burger. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I think I was personally a little let down by the beef pattie. I thought the beef was a little pasty, somewhat like sausage mince. Not to say that it actually tasted like that (even though so many others do). In the end you could tell the beef was of good quality and taste, but it just wasn’t the kind of pattie I like. All other ingredients were fresh and well proportioned. I particularly enjoyed the bun and fries.”
“A small and well proportioned burger. The beef was a little charred for my liking but its still had a great crumble and flavour to it. On the top bun you had the ketchup and on the bottom there was possibly one of the best mayos I’ve ever tasted. To finish it off it had perfect presentation with a fancy dollop of sauce on the side for the chips. I’d advise not ordering if you are on your lunch break from work; this place is catered towards the ladies who stop by during/after shopping and are in no rush..”
“Overall a good lunch time burger. However, there is one condition: you have to wait 15-25min for your burger to arrive (service can be a bit slow, but that’s ok because the final product is worth it). I wasn’t a fan of the chips cooked in olive oil – some of them were too greasy and heavy. The positives included a light, small and very easy to manage bun, a light and well cooked pattie, perfect bacon, a very tasty and nicely melted gruyere and just the right amount of carefully selected lettuce leaves.”
“The sauce on the wood is undesirable and is different just for the sake of being different. The chips your meant to use to dip in it are cooked in olive oil – nothing but a gimmick because quite frankly they taste bad. It did take forever to get service/meals but in the end, you honestly get quite a simple and decent burger with a Wagyu beef pattie that’ll melt in your mouth. To add to this there was salty, crunchy bacon and really good ratios of cheese and lettuce. Its a good, perfectly proportioned lunchtime burger.. but only if you’ve got all the time in the world.”
Jones the Grocer on Urbanspoon


Grub

Friday, January 21, 2011
Grub – 911 Seward St, Hollywood, California, USA
Burger:
White Truffle Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$13.50 USD
Summary

In the backstreets of Hollywood, amidst a forest of Post-Production studios lies Grub. You probably wouldn’t guess it were a restaurant if it weren’t for the sign and people coming and going. Co-Owners Betty Fraser and Denise DeCarlo (who met whilst waitressing at a pizzeria), deliver their cheeky take on “California Comfort Food” in a converted 1920’s duplex that from first glance, just looks like someone’s house or a quaint Bed & Breakfast. This is all intentional; Fraser and DeCarlo wanted a place that people could come to unwind, relax or soak up some of that lovely California sunshine in their courtyard after a busy day. With a meal in there for everyone, from breakfast, dinner and dessert, their tantalising menu will probably leave you undecided for a little while. Lucky for me I had been recommended the White Truffle burger by a LA local. It came on a Cheddar Kaiser with roasted Mushrooms, melted Swiss Cheese, caramelised Onions, fresh Arugula & Roasted-Garlic Mayo. Then of course it was all drizzled with the not-so-secret ingredient, White Truffle Oil.

Comments
“I was coming to the end of my trip. Los Angeles had been fun but it had also beaten the shit out of me. Long days and late nights were becoming the norm and the burger recommendations were flying at me left, right and centre. It was Emmy time and parties were in full swing. At one particular gala, after being introduced as “the Australian burger guy” for the 100th time, I finally had a recommendation that I knew I just had to try.
One morning (ok it was noon) I got up and decided to make the trek to LA’s trendy Post-Production district. For some reason walking seemed like a bright idea but after a decent hour, and a bit of a hunt, I found it. Strolling down Seward Street you’d be forgiven for missing it or just thinking its some random haunt. From your first step in to your last step out you’ve got amazing service – I’ve never been to a chirpier café/restaurant. As well as the White Truffle Burger I grabbed a homemade ginger ale and boy was a happy when it came out. Ten seconds later and the drink was gone. I knew I was thirsty from the walk (and from the night before) but this was ridiculous. All of a sudden the waiter brought out a few sliced carrots, cucumbers and pretzels with a herb-mayo for dipping sauce as a complimentary entrée – a really nice touch. My next drink of choice was going to be the blueberry lemonade. It was unbelievable. Burger or no burger, I’d be back at Grub in a second just for that.
Soon enough they brought out the burger. It came laid out like a conquered beast; with a steak knife straight through its heart making it ooze swiss cheese all over the place. I sat there in awe for a little while wondering how I was meant to tackle this monstrosity. After taking a few snaps of the Swiss Cheese Niagara Falls, I cut this bad boy in half and went to town. My first impression wasn’t great; the bun was way too hard and crunchy and I started questioning the use of this Cheddar Kaiser. All it did was take away from the other ingredients. The Swiss cheese coupled with the White Truffle oil was a big winner though, coating my mouth like the creamiest of melted butters.
Just when I thought it was getting better with each bite, I started pulling out the overload of lettuce, caramelised onions and mushrooms as they were killing my Truffle experience! On their own they were ok but they together they were like uninvited guests at a party. Even more disappointing was the beef – it was overseasoned and overcooked, which was a real shame. I didn’t bother eating my side of potato chips because I was just too full. I sipped on my amazing blueberry lemonade and thought about how much potential this burger had to be great. They really do have the right recipe here for an amazing burger (minus the stupid bun) but the ratios of ingredients and cooking times that day were just off the mark.”


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