The newest arrival to the downtown food court at Third and Marion generated some curiosity—and some lines—when it opened recently. Buriyaki is a diminutive little counter shop dispensing, as its tagline says, “Japanese burgers.”
The first reaction most people have: “It’s like Katsu Burger?”
Well, yes and no. Actually, mostly no. Like Hajime Sato’s excellent burger spot in Georgetown, Buriyaki does serve a version of Japan’s tonkatsu—a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet—in burger form. The rest of the burger menu subs in broiled chicken or turkey breast, sautéed tuna, pork loin, or pork shoulder. One item that’s on the menu but still sporting a “coming soon” sign is the Hambagu—a burgerfied take on Japan’s take on the American hamburger patty. Got that?
Buriyaki is a downtown lunch stop, and priced accordingly: Every burger on the menu is $4.65. Here’s a look at how Seattle’s two Japanese burger spots stack up. Remember, details and menu items are subject to change.
Number of burgers on the menu: Eight
Number of katsu-style burgers on the menu: One
The topping situation: Manageable amounts, in keeping with the low price point. Depending on the sandwich, you might find Japanese mayo, a housemade sauce akin to teriyaki, and lots of cabbage slaw, along with various veggies.
Can’t-miss side order: You have a choice of a green salad, hot and sour soup, chicken dumpling soup, or potato wedges that get mixed reviews on the demon Yelp. I'd go for one of the soups.
Lunch will run you: A daily special combo lets you walk away with a burger, side, and medium drink for $6.
Bonus points: For the courtyard seating outside.
Number of burgers on the menu: Nine, plus two comically large mega burgers
Number of katsu-style burgers on the menu: Nine, plus two comically large mega burgers.
The topping situation: In a word, towering and massive. Just about every burger comes with mayo (Japanese or wasabi) and sweet tonkatsu sauce and they're all garnished with tomato, onion, pickles, and a mountain of cabbage for crunch.
Can’t-miss side order: I'd say the fries dusted with nori, or tiny flakes of seaweed. My colleague Josh Feit is part of the cult that worships the black sesame milkshake.
Lunch will run you: Burgers start at $7 and go up to about $11 (okay, this one is a bit more). Owner Hajime Sato (also of Mashiko and, recently, quite a few headlines) is all about meats raised without added hormones and antibiotics and generally natural ingredients.
Bonus points: Did you read the part about how all the burger patties are battered and fried?
If there's a website or Facebook page for Buriyaki, I haven't found it yet. But the flier I grabbed on my recent visit says the hours are Monday through Friday, 10 to 2:30. Find it at 823 Third Ave. Thrillist has some nice pics, too.