Don’t be offended; it’s not pronounced that way.
Fuku Burger (FOO-koo) is one of the latest burger joints to arrive on the L.A. scene. It’s the first bricks-and-mortar location of a popular Las Vegas food truck, and it takes advantage of its attention-grabbing name with an irreverent Twitter campaign and slogan: “Get Lucky.”
The Fuku Burger rewards club is called Friends With Benefits.
Fuku actually means “lucky” in Japanese, and the burgers are a fusion of Asian flavors and a good ol’ American burger.
The hip vibe at the restaurant on Cahuenga in Hollywood reflects the restaurant’s name and its origins as a food truck. The front has a garage-style door, so the restaurant gives off an open vibe and is decorated with bold graphics that recall street art and Japanese comic books.
There’s a bar (something most food trucks don’t have) that boasts happy hour, which starts at 3 p.m. and features sake bombs. One of the large flat-screen televisions above the bar features @FukuBurgerLA‘s active Twitter stream.
And the burgers? They are satisfying, in an “I know this is bad for me” way.
The menu features five burgers and a crispy chicken sandwich. I ordered the original Fuku, or lucky burger, which comes with wasabi mayo and “Fuku sauce.” The combination of the mayo and the sauce adds the right flavor and isn’t too overpowering.
Kenley ordered the Buta, or pig burger, which comes with bacon, ginger, wasabi mayo and a Japanese barbecue sauce. We also ordered a side of “jazz fries,” which came topped with gravy and “crack sauce,” which is indeed addictive. A must-try.
Fuku Burger is reportedly planning to open another location in Little Tokyo, and the bartender mentioned that the owners are exploring other locations including the West Side, where we live.
Loyal Shellevation readers will remember that Kenley and I taste-tested burgers right after East Coast favorite Five Guys opened a Los Angeles location near us in May. See which burgers we ranked in our top five in L.A. then.
Little did we know we were only getting started. Since then, we’ve had several burgers that I’m sure will shake up the list. I’ll update it in May for National Hamburger Month. The Fuku Burger has a shot at the top five, or at least the top 10.
Even the Serious Eats website — in its “A Hamburger Today” section — was surprised by the Fuku Burger. You can read that review here.
I’d definitely rank it as one of the best burgers that originated from a food-truck concept. My other food-truck favorite is from the Baby’s Badass Burgers truck. You can read about those hot chicks here. The “pacman burger” from Korean chef Roy Choi’s Kogi barbecue truck is also a must-try, though a bit removed from an all-American burger.
Some will want to compare the Fuku burger to the one offered at Umami, a restaurant that shares the name of the Japanese notion of “the fifth taste” (sweet, sour, salty and bitter are the four primary tastes, though some say “umami” is a fancy word for “savory”).
Let’s just say that Fuku Burger is a more fun experience, while Umami offers a more refined, gourmet burger served in a more upscale atmosphere. There is a time for both.