Thursday, December 8, 2011


Vancouver,BC is to JapaDog as Seattle is to _________

Hajime Sato, the owner of Mashiko - a sushi bar in West Seattle dedicated to sustainable fishing (with a serious cult following in the neighborhood and beyond,, has created something fantastic in a little strip mall in Georgetown (a very south Seattle neighborhood). Those of you familiar with JapaDog up in Vancouver, BC should feel quite comfortable in Sato's newly opened Katsu Burger. Like JapaDog, Katsu Burger takes traditional japanese flavors and marries them with a quintessential American food. In this case: the hamburger, side of fries, and milkshake.

For those less familiar with japanese katsu, it is usually a chicken or pork cutlet that has been tempura-battered, coated in panko bread crumbs, then deep fried, and served with a pile of shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce (basically a japanese equivalent to bbq sauce), and maybe japanese mayo. The magic of katsu is in its light, super crispy outer texture while keeping the meat inside tender and juicy.

Katsu Burger utilizes a range of traditional japanese flavors in their burgers (wasabi, curry, teriyaki, spicy mayo, tonkatsu sauce, miso, etc.) but it's the katsu-style cooking of the beef patty (also pork and chicken cutlets or tofu are offered) with its sealed-in juiciness and wonderful crispy coating that elevates it from 'burger with japanese flavors' good idea to the revolutionary great idea that Katsu Burger actually is.

While the burgers are clearly the main attraction, it's also obvious a lot of attention and love was paid in developing the accompaniments. I'm a big lover of coleslaw and Katsu Burger's, at first glance, looks like a classic slaw but has just enough wasabi hiding in the dressing to give sinuses a pleasant burn. The nori (dried, seasoned seaweed) french fries and hand-dipped green tea milkshake were both solid. There's also an assortment of dips you can try, we tried curry mayo (good) and a miso honey mustard (good, but maybe not ideal with the nori fries), the latter being used on their vegetarian-friendly tofu burger, which I think will actually pair better than as dip for fries (or maybe with the Banzai Bites, which we didn't try, but from the description are the Katsu Burger equivalent to chicken nuggets).

'Tokyo Classic': panko-fried beef patty, Japanese mayo, tonkatsu sauce
(with shredded cabbage, tomato, pickles)

my ni-ban set: Tokyo Classic (no onion), nori fries, curry mayo, wasabi coleslaw


'Katsu Curry': panko-fried pork cutlet, curry mayo, tonkatsu sauce
(with shredded cabbage, tomato, red onion, pickles)

'Ohayou Gozaimasu': a 'Tokyo Classic' plus cheddar, fried egg and bacon

Katsu Burger is definitely a new Seattle food destination for me; partially because it's a bit far away, tucked in an industrial zone between downtown and Boeing, surrounded by teriyaki shops, payday loan branches, gas stations, mini-marts and semi trucks, and it'd be uncommon that I just happen to be in the neighborhood. But the primary reason is that there simply is no other katsu-style burger anywhere else and the Katsu Burger revolution is worth trekking for.


Katsu Burger
6538 4th Ave S.

supermouthhappy Web Developer


  1. Wow, does that ever sound alot like MOS burger (which we happened to feature awhile back:

  2. I always only associate MOS burger with their rice buns, but you're totally right about the similarities, particularly with the lineup of regional burgers at MOS. I admit, I wasn't really thinking beyond N. America (and I've even eaten at MOS burger numerous times). But, to be honest, Katsu Burger is in such a higher class than MOS burger that the comparison didn't even come to mind when I was eating there.
    At the very least, I don't think MOS burger does a katsu-fried beef patty (and that was definitely the highlight of highlights for me).