Timely 'Ghostbusters' burger tastier than it looks at J.S. Burgers Cafe in Tokyo
By JAMES KIMBER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 3, 2016
If there’s something strange and it don’t look good, who you gonna call? J.S. Burgers Cafe, perhaps.
Fortunately for the upscale Tokyo burger chain, their limited-time “Ghostbusters”-inspired menu, for the most part, tastes better than it looks.
With the anticipated theatrical release just around the corner, J.S. Burgers began offering the G.B. Burger, Marshmallow Mad Burger, Green Ghost Shake and Black Chili Chips on July 1 at all six of their locations and all four of their food-court offshoots called J.S. Foodies.
The headline act is the black-bunned G.B. Burger. The 1,580-yen (roughly $15.40) burger gets its jet-black look from squid ink mixed into the dough before baking. The ink also gives the bun a distinct, slightly bitter and toasty taste.
As with most menu items at J.S. Burgers, the toppings are more exotic than the common hamburger. The G.B. Burger is topped with tapenade — a southern French hors d’oeuvre made of chopped black olives, anchovy paste, capers and olive oil — cream, onion rings and a “bloody hell” ketchup that comes in three spice levels; proton, mega proton and giga proton.
The bun has an almost coffeelike taste to it while the tapenade balances the noticeably garlicky burger. In case three fresh-from-the-fryer onion rings aren’t crispy enough to the bite, there’s also a bed of red cabbage on the burger as lettuce is always out of fashion among Tokyo’s chic.
More visually appealing than the burger is the Slimer-inspired Green Ghost Shake served in a Mason jar. The name is quite misleading and most Americans will be taken for a bit of a surprise. The “shake” is really just a smoothie with a scoop of matcha ice cream on top. The smoothie is an avocado and apple blend with a kiwi, some cherries and two inexplicable cookies that look like little burgers with chocolate cream replacing the patty. The homemade ice cream is delicious, but the rest of the beverage is strangely tasty once it’s accepted as a smoothie instead of a milkshake. The shake is 780 yen, or about $7.60.
By far the ugliest and most confusing of the offerings are the Black Chili Chips. J.S. Burgers serves chips with their burgers instead of fries, and the chips are fantastic by themselves. Add some chili with more squid ink tossed in, and then top it all with a tomato puree and a white cheddar cheese sauce — which is really more like a slice of melted white cheddar cheese. The side dish itself is great. It’s really hard to screw up chips with chili and cheese. However, there’s nothing that says Ghostbusters about the item. The closest stretch may be Egon Spengler’s love of spicy food, but the new Ghostbusters features an all-female cast with presumably completely unique personality traits. The 780-yen chips seem out of place.
For dessert, the burger joint offers a Marshmallow Mad Burger. This “burger” is made of toasted marshmallows, chocolate cookies and frozen yogurt on an especially fluffy white bun. It’s topped with both cranberry and chocolate sauces. It’s just as sweet as imaginable. It costs 1280 yen, or about $12.47.
LOCATIONS: J.S. Burgers Cafe; six locations in Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Ebina and Ikebukuro. Also available at J.S. Foodies in Lalaport Malls in Tachikawa, Toyosu, Fujisawa and Osaka. The one I went to was in Lalaport Tachikawa.
ADDRESS: Lalaport Tachikawa is at 〒190-0015 Tokyo, Tachikawa, Izumi-cho 935-1. J.S. Foodies is on the second floor near the Michael Kors and Godiva boutiques.
PHONE: 042-595-9393 (Japanese only)
COST: Expect to pay about $20 per adult. Kid’s meals are available for about $7.