No, that is not a typo in the title. A hambagu is a Japanese hamburger and LA’s Royal/T café serves up a killer version — with a side of culture shock.
Royal/T is also an art gallery and design store and their café is also Los Angeles’ first “costume play” venue. Like the “Maid Cafés” found in Tokyo, you’re served by waitresses in French maid costumes. We’re not mad at that. This may be one of the quirkiest settings for grabbing a burger, and that’s exactly why we are all about it. A superb example of Japan’s culinary versatility, Royal/T’s features a menu influenced by French, Asian and Californian cuisine.
So what’s the difference between a burger and a ‘bagu? As the offspring of youshuku, or Japanese-style Western cuisine, hambagus are made from a blend of ground pork and beef. However, Royal/T’s hambagu is an 8-ounce blend of sirloin and Kobe beef (esteemed for its flavorful fattiness). In characteristic culture-blend fashion, this high-quality Japanese patty is adorned with a combination of decidedly Anglo toppings — a slice of beefsteak tomato, caramelized onion jam, thinly sliced homemade pickles and garlic aioli, with cheddar or gruyère cheese and, of course, a pile of fries. We’ll say “Hello, hambagu” and “Sayonara, sushi” to that.
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