Burgers with a Tokyo twist in LA
The Kari “spicy burger” is made with pickled cucumbers, avocado cream and habanero kabyaki. (Caroline Pardilla)
What happens in Las Vegas normally stays in Las Vegas, but not when it comes to the Strip’s Fuku Burger food truck.
The Asian fusion burger truck, which achieved cult status in just one year thanks to its incredible Twitter skills, opened its first brick-and-mortar effort in October in LA. Restaurateur Harry Morton (of Viper Room and Pink Taco fame) convinced Fuku founders Colin Fukunaga and chef Robert “Mags” Magsalin to bring their playful Sin City vibe -- Fuku bombs and all -- to Hollywood’s food scene.
In a gutsy move, the Japanese-influenced restaurant put down roots just steps away from LA burger favourites The Bowery and Umami Burger on Cahuenga Boulevard. The menu, full of simple-named burgers like Pig Burger, Mushroom Burger and Spicy Burger, has garnered praise from actor Jim Carrey and the New York Times.
The most requested sandwich is the Tamago “egg burger”, made with a free-range, grass-fed, Angus beef Fuku patty, Furikake (a Japanese seasoning), teriyaki and wasabi mayo, topped with crispy onion strings and a fried egg. For late night bar hoppers, the restaurant offers plenty of guilty pleasure snacks such as Jazz Fries -- garlic fries topped with gravy and crack sauce (a sweet Thai chili and mayo mixture) -- and the Naga Dog, a deep-fried hot dog served with eel sauce and wasabi mayo.
This Tokyo-twisted fast food can be washed down with the restaurant’s selection of wine, beer or Fuku Bombs, where a shot glass of sake is balanced over a pint of beer with two chopsticks. The drinker then slams their fists down on either side of the glass to jolt the sake into the beer.
The dimly lit 60-seat restaurant, which was designed by DJ/fashion designer Kelly Cole, echoes the food truck’s street scene, with a Japanese graffiti mural painted across the restaurant’s brick wall and communal picnic benches. Tucked in between bars The Room and Beauty Bar, Fuku serves as the perfect stopping-off point during a night out in Hollywood.
Caroline Pardilla is the Los Angeles Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes Carolineoncrack.com.
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