I love a good burger. While I was born in Tokyo, I grew up in Minnesota eating burgers and fries. There are some good burger shops in Tokyo, but it’s nice to have a local spot that we can decide to go to at the last minute and not have to make a special trip into the city.
Jimmy’s Diner is our local burger shop serving a generous portion of fries and a meaty burger in an American diner interior. There are booths off to one side and a counter overlooking the kitchen.
The menu is simple, a burger with many different toppings. The burger is made with Japanese beef and the bun is from my favorite local bakery. The onions are raw, but Jimmy is kind enough to sauté them upon request. The fries are crispy and the serving is big, but if you are hungry, you can request a bigger serving for a small supplement, but only if you are really hungry. The serving in the photos above are the regular serving.
I believe Jimmy’s is closed on Monday. Call ahead to be sure if you are making a special trip here. Jimmy’s Diner is about a five-minute walk from Kokubunji station’s north exit. Jimmy (Hirakawa Hajime-san) and his wife run the kid-friendly shop. It’s open on Sundays. 🙂
Shake Shack, New York City’s great burger chain, is in Tokyo at two locations, Aoyama and Ebisu. The Ebisu location is next to the station. I’ve passed by many times and the line was always too long. I was lucky today when I passed as the line, while still long, it was nothing like I had seen before and I jumped in.
The current special is the ShackMeister of fried shallots on a cheeseburger. It is a great burger with the crispy shallots over the meaty burger. The crinkle fries with a cheddar and American cheese sauce were a nice touch of NYC.
The seating area is big and there were two staff helping diners bus their trays and assisting diners to find seats.
My fingers are crossed that the next Shake Shack will be on the Chuo line, maybe in Kichijoji? Tachikawa? Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
One of the best burgers I have had in a while is at Bareburger in the new Tokyu Plaza in Ginza. The organic burger is made from Aussie beef. It’s a meaty and hearty burger. I had the Standard (1,380 JPY) and Shinji had the Buck Wild with a fried egg and fried onions (1,640 JPY). We shared a large serving of onion rings and fries (1,050 JPY), sold as side dishes. The prices seemed fair for organic ingredients and for the great location and ambience. Staff are friendly and genki. I drink a lot of water with my meals and the staff were great to keep my water cup filled. This often goes ignored at other restaurants. Arigato.
The first Bareburger shop is in Jiyugaoka, but that is a neighborhood I just never get to. The Ginza location, just near the Sukiyabashi crossing, close to Ginza and Yurakucho stations, is very convenient. This is on the 10th floor and has lovely window-side seats that overlook Ginza. The shop is also kid-friendly. Bareburger is an import from NYC to Tokyo.
Bareburger Ginza at Tokyu Plaza
Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-2-1, Tokyu Plaza 10F 中央区銀座5-2-1, Tokyu Plaza 10F
Tokyo is a massive city and there are so many parts that I have yet to explore. One of the coolest areas, literally cool as the area is surrounded by canals, is Tennoz Isle. Until now I have only passed through on the monorail on my way to Haneda airport. Now I am kicking myself for not having come much earlier. What a great, quiet oasis in the city. It did not feel one bit like I was in Tokyo. The breeze coming off the water is welcomed in this heat and humidity. I went recently to meet a girlfriend who works in the area to eat at T.Y. Harbor. It has been on my radar for over ten years.
T.Y. Harbor has been here since 1997 and is a rare microbrewery in the city. I have had the beer at some of the sister shops like Cicada in Aoyama, and its a great craft beer that is very food friendly. I was surprised at how big the restaurant is inside. The outdoor patio seating overlooking the canals is also spacious. We came early to beat the lunch rush, around 11:30 a.m. and already it was almost full on the deck. Service is friendly, the staff speak English, and the menu is filled with great salads, daily specials, and burgers. The daily specials are put online each week. The burger hits the spot for this American. It’s a big burger, meaty, and comes with a generous serving of fries. The brioche buns are made at the breadworks bakery which is located next door. My girlfriend got a big salad that was topped with beets, blue cheese, and chicken. The lunch meal also comes with a bottomless glass of iced tea or Nozy coffee, a rarity in Tokyo, the concept of a bottomless glass.
There were a handful of tables with small kids and parents and the staff were accommodating. The weekend brunch menu is filled with lots of comfort dishes like pizza, pasta, barbecue ribs, and the burgers. I can only imagine it is a very popular spot on the weekends.
T.Y. Harbor is worth the journey. Allow for some time to walk around the canals before or after your meal. A few times during our lunch I told my girlfriend that I felt like I was back in America. Citibank Japan’s office is nearby and there were a lot of workers from the office there. It was fun to be surrounded by so much English. Escape the madness of the city in this oasis near Shinagawa.