by Kelly Wetherille In a city with as many food fanatics as Tokyo, restaurants are quick to makeclaims along the lines of “freshest seafood” and “most authentic pizza.” These, it must be said, should always be taken with a grain of salt. So despite having heard rave reviews about the burgers at The Beat Diner, it was with a certain amount of skepticism that I entered this casual eatery situated under the JR tracks near Yurakucho station.
Inside, the atmosphere is laid-back and friendly. The waitress seated us at a table near the window and pulled up a wooden crate to hold our bags and other belongings. Upon perusing the menu we found dishes such as chicken and fish sandwiches, fish and chips, fried chicken, and a range of soups, salads and appetizers. But we decided to stick with the dish that had made the diner famous—the humble hamburger. Several varieties are available, and there is also an option of designing your own, with over ten different toppings that can be added to any burger for between ¥100 and ¥300 extra. After much deliberation, I decided to go with an avocado cheeseburger (¥1,100), and my dining partner opted for a bacon cheeseburger (¥1,150). While the restaurant’s eponymous B-E-A-T (bacon, egg, avocado and tomato) burger (¥1,400) was tempting, the photo of this towering sandwich, piled high with toppings, proved a bit too intimidating.
With the first bite of my burger came a pleasant surprise: the beef patty was thick and juicy, and the combination of fresh vegetables, a lightly toasted sesame bun, and a specially seasoned sauce made for a subtle mix of flavors I hadn’t before experienced. No one ingredient overpowered the others, and the care taken in preparing each burger was immediately apparent in the thick slices of avocado, whole leaves of lettuce, and generous helping of perfectly melted cheddar cheese. Across the table, the bacon version was enjoyed with just as much vigor.
As we left the restaurant and headed back out into the cold winter air, we agreed to concede the title of “best burger in Tokyo” to The Beat Diner—at least until we happen upon some place that does it a little better.
Open daily (11am–11pm, last order 10:30pm)
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