Mittwoch, 1. Oktober 2014

Koelling's Ultimate TEST: Lotteria's Tochigi Wagyu-Burger With Strawberry Sauce

Monday could have been a highlight for all burger fans. So I thought. Lotteria started selling a deluxe burger, made of famed Japanese beef and crowned with a spoonful of cremy strawberry sauce. Sounds mouth watering, right? 

The appetizing ad on the homepage added to the appeal, despite a rather high price tag of 1300 Yen (a bit less than 10 Euro) without drink.

And off I went on Tuesday. The early bird catches the burger, I told myself. Lotteria had hinted that this culinary creation is sold in limited numbers only.

Filled with ad-enhanced images in my mind I approached the Lotteria of my choice in Ginza, opposite of the Sony building. I ordered, I paid. And then I got this:

No sense of luxury whatsoever. And I was under the impression that the Japanese are the masters of sophisticated packaging and presenting, adding colour and spice for the eyes too. But then, what did I expect? I was at Lotteria, not at the famous and around 50 times more expensive steak house Aragawa (one star from the Guide Michelin).

Anyway, the balloon of expections was pierced, but did not burst. Had I only not opened the cardbox.

Deep in the corner of the paper wraping I descried the Wagyu Burger, rather small and really undecorated. Also a closer look did not lift my spirit. 

The image was a far cry from the ad. Right?

It seems to be all the same with these Hamburger chains: Somehow their burgers lose a lot of their appeal on their way from the photo studio over the grill, the counter and onto my plate. I almost always regret eating there.

Anyway, here I was. So I decided to keep an open mind. After all you should never assess a person - or burger - by the looks alone. And so I took a bite. And ...

It was ok. Better than a normal burger, actually. The meatball was reasonably tender and juicy - as you might expect from a minced Japanese cow from Tochigi, with its fine, fatty muscles. 

But it tasted just a bit too salty for my liking, the french fries were undisputably soft and soggy, and the packing was as mentioned way too much in line with the industry standard for a deluxe food item with such a steep price tag.

Was it worth it? 

My take-out: This Wagyu Burger will stay a once-in-the-life-time experience, at least from Lotteria. 

Although its price is so far ahead of my favorite burger joint with its hand-made patties, the Chaos Burger in Yugawara/Kanagawa prefecture, the taste is so far behind. 

My tip: Save the money and spend it on a train ticket to Yugawara. My joint is close to the station. The shop only got a three star rating on tabelog. But I rate it higher. Usually I want to order the next hamburger as soon as I finished the first one. And after lunch I can relax in a hot spring. And I can't say neither about a Wagyu Burger at Lotteria in Tokyo.

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