Beefing up the Ebisu burger scene
On the surface, Blacows could be cast aside as any old upmarket burger joint. Nestled amongst the oh-so-cool backstreets of Ebisu, the interior, while quaint with its open brickwork and wooden beams, is nothing incredible and the menu seems to offer the usual range of gourmet toppings. However, its faithful clientele know that when it comes to culinary quality, it’s what’s underneath that counts.
Huddled outside you’ll see a collective of rather trendy Tokyoites gazing in through the window, green with envy. A mysterious looking chalkboard waits to show you the specific cuts of beef used that day, where they came from—and even the number of the poor little cow itself. Butcher owned and run, Blacows takes immense pride in the quality of its patty. Made exclusively from kuroge wagyu (Japanese black beef) prepared on site, diners can even watch the delightfully named “Patty Factory” through a window as they wolf down their own delicious specimen.
Arriving on a very busy Sunday lunchtime, we opted for the ¥1,600 bacon, avocado and cheese burger recommended by our waitress. Diners can choose from a wide range of custom toppings such as Italian mozzarella, fiery jalapeños and even that old Japanese staple: fried egg. For those looking to join the heavyweights, there’s the Big Blacow Burger (¥2,600) featuring two of their perfect patties with a host of glorious toppings.
The patty (cooked medium as standard) was juicy, tender and bursting with flavor, and despite our best efforts to savor every last bite, we ended up gobbling it down in about two minutes. The cheese (a combination of Colby and Monterey Jack) oozed down the side, a wonderfully messy partner to the grilled wagyu beef. The crisp Nadeshiko bacon and sliced avocado balanced the flavors, which was well supplemented by a smoky homemade BBQ sauce. All this deliciousness was sandwiched between a freshly baked bun from the celebrated Maison Kayser.
Diners also receive a portion of tasty Hokkaido French fries (but only a handful) and a rather small pickle. The sides are are decidedly lackluster, the dessert menu—forgettable. It’s the lovingly cooked patty and the ingeniously constructed fusion of tastes that accompany it that keeps ‘em coming back. Lunchtime drinkers can enjoy a selection of bottled beers including a Hoegaarden white, and those visiting in the evening can also choose from a small selection of wines (¥3,800-¥6,500) and cocktails (¥700).
With its meticulously sourced ingredients and laid back atmosphere tucked in the heart of the city, who could ask for more? Well, our table actually, who unanimously agreed that we’d be heading back the next weekend for a second helping of mouthwatering burger action.
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