Katsu wha-a-a-t? You read it right, thatsa Katsu Burger. It is both a menu choice and a small storefront restaurant on a busy street in Georgetown, an industrial area south of Seattle's downtown core. I'm familiar with Tonkatsu, the breaded and deep fried pork cutlet offered on many Japanese menus, but a katsu burger? really? breaded and deep fried? Believe it.
Food bloggers love KB, local reviewers rave about the place, it has appeared on several Best Burger lists, so how could I resist when KB is less than a 15-minute drive away? It was time to check it out, right away, this week - culinary research, you know. RL passed on the opportunity but Hilary was an enthusiastic participant in the Katsu Burger Taste Off. We planned our arrival after 1:00 to avoid any lunch crowds and were delighted to find no one in line at the order window and several open tables. We had a good plan, but it didn't give us much time to study the intriguing menu. No problem, we had both skimmed it online and were ready to order.
Burger #1 was the Ninja Deluxe:a brined, breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet with cheddar, bacon, Japanese mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce plus the standard shredded cabbage, tomato, red onion and pickles on a fluffy sesame-studded bun. Look at the size of that burger!
Burger #2 was the Godzilla Attack: a seasoned, breaded and deep-fried beef patty with pepper jack, jalapeños, spicy mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce plus shredded cabbage, tomato, red onion and pickles on a fluffy sesame-studded bun. We split one of the halves and wrapped up the other half to take home.
Sides included Nori Fries with a wasabi dipping sauce and a carton of Wasabi Coleslaw. Various milkshakes sounded tempting, but not today. Today was all about the burgers. We had planned to split two burgers, compare opinions on flavor, texture, seasoning, etc. and then sample the fries and coleslaw as appetite allowed. Hah! our combined appetites only made it through 1 1/2 burgers and a bare nibble of fries and slaw. I was full, uncomfortably full, stomach ache full until breakfast the next morning. No, I'm not really complaining, those were such interesting burgers. The menu noted you can swap out the meats in any of the 12 burger choices for chicken, pork, beef or tofu. As first-timers we ordered both burgers as listed on the menu; pork tonkatsu on the Ninja Burger and beef on the Godzilla. Both burgers delivered tender, flavorful meat inside a crispy exterior; cooked just past pink and still moist. The pork cutlet Ninja Deluxe was the surprising favorite for both of us in this burger taste off. It had a good balance of flavors and the best crust. Though tasty, the Godzilla Attack's beef patty was overwhelmed by the spicy cheese and jalapeño accompaniments. Both burgers benefitted from a drizzle of the wasabi dipping sauce, available since we ate so few fries. The fries were cold by the time we took our first nibbles, so they looked better than they tasted. French fries, even dusted with nori flakes, don't improve with age, so they deserve another try. The coleslaw was ordinary, not wonderful or special, just coleslaw with a hint of wasabi flavor. Two burger lovers were ready to love the fusion creations at Katsu Burger, but after lunch I know I felt a bit let down. Did all of the hype and publicity lead me to expect too much? The burgers were good, an interesting twist on a familiar favorite; they just won't show up on my personal list of Top Ten Burgers.