Mrs. BurgerDogBoy and I found ourselves downtown Portland on Saturday, she had a brief appointment near the end of the day, and I told her I would wait for her at the Virginia Cafe on 10th. Mrs. BDB and I have enjoyed the start of a bender or two at the Virginia, but that was not to be Saturday, as it was a day when (apparently) my super-powers kicked in, and I turned invisible to the help at the Virginia. So five minutes after sitting down at the bar, I picked up my money and left, preferring to stand on the street corner. This, in fact, turned out good for two reasons: Mrs. BDB went home with 1) a cute red clutch I spotted in a store window, and b) a belly full of quality sushi, and saki.
When she approached me on the corner, I asked if she wanted a drink or to eat, she replied in the affirmative, and I suggested sushi, knowing it would get me on her good side.
We walked up to Masu,on 13th. Masu is a Japanese word meaning ‘little square box for measuring sake”, and the Masu restaurant serves its sake that way, and is also home to some of the freshest and best sushi Mrs. BDB says she has had in Portland. “Happy wife, happy life,” someone always says.
Being as I am one cheap son-of-a-bitch, I was delighted that the waitress told us it was happy hour, and there was a long discounted menu. Whoo hoo!
I figured I was in for an evening repasts of tempura vegetables, when i spotted the burger on the menu: “kobe beef burger with house tonkatsu.” Sounded good to me, as did “japanese “poutine” with curry and curds”, but I did not inquire of that, nor order. Some other time maybe.
The burger was $8, and no, I am not going to go on my usual rant about “of course at that price, it wasn’t kobe.” Tonkatsu is a japanese fried pork cutlet, usually found in a bento box type offering, but I have no idea in what context Masu used the world, the side dish on the burger plate was a smidgen of kim chi. (After thought: I am guessing they meant tonkatsu “sauce”, which is a Japanese concoction of ketchup, sake, sugar,etc).
The menu, nor the waitress (who was very efficient and informed) did not make any mention that it was a cheeseburger, which is fine w/ me, but some people might object to being served cheese w/o ordering it. The menu did not make a reference as to how the burger might be cooked, nor did the waitress ask my preference.
It arrived, beautifully plated, amply sized, cooked to medium, with a hearty slab of Tillamook White Cheddar blanketing the top. Side condiments on the plate included an heirloom tomato slice, and shreds of raw onion. Mrs. BDB helped herself to some of the kim chi, I tried a bite, and it was very good.
The thick burger patty was good, juicy despite the cook stage, and had a flavor quality close to Kobe, in that Kobe is very fatty (rich). The bun was exactly the type I prefer, almost kaer dough, soft in the middle, but firm enough to entrap the burger juices and condiments.
In my travels, Portland is unique in offering burgers at sushi bars, and it has sure been good for my marriage. I’d place this particular patty as #2 in burgers I have liked in Portland sushi bars, with the one at Bamboo Sushi besting it, and the one at Yakusa following it in the line up.
Will I go back? Sure, next time we’re downtown and its decidedly in my favor to court and spark my wife (which I like to do as often as possible), but next time, I think I will go for the tempura. Just my opinion, which is, of course, worth what you paid for it!
(Photo credits: All photos @BurgerDogBoy, w/ exception of exterior photo/sign, from Masu’s website.)