Advertisements
Restaurant

I Finally Tried Osaka’s Okonomiyaki Inspired Burger in Boulder, Colorado

What an eff’n gimmick to use “okonomiyaki” as a hamburger bun is what I initially thought, but now I’m not sure about that

After having tried Osaka’s for lunch, I was quite impressed by the Osaka experience which I think exemplifies Japanese food and culture on so many levels.

In short:

I liked my first time at Osaka’s, and I would go back even with a 40-minute drive. So, if you’re in Boulder, you have no excuse in not giving them a try because it’s not like you have to drive far.

  • Spare no expense: the interior to a lot of their marketing collateral from the product photography, menu design, food packaging, food tray, to every other detail in the business, they didn’t hold back on.
  • A very good value: I’ve had meals in Japan where friends had thought I paid $300+, but I spent more like $40. People would had assumed you spent more than you had at Osaka’s too.
  • Omotenashi (hospitality): since most Japanese restaurants in Colorado are not Japanese owned or operated, most Coloradans have yet to experience Japanese hospitality unless they have been to Japan. Luckily, you can now get a taste of it at Osaka’s.
  • Meticulous preparation: crispy fries, crisp salad greens, properly prepared and seasoned ingredients which were all spot-on (nothing over-cooked, overly seasoned, etc).
  • Health-bent: like a lot of Japanese food, there is an emphasis on health, and Osaka’s does a good job at communicating how they have your health at heart.

The details:

The above was my attempt at a being short and to the point, but now you can see me go full Greg-tard.

Siri trying to tell me that it’d take 46 mins to Osaka’s sounded like a challenge.

In Newport Beach, I lived within blocks of a KFC, but I would drive almost 25+ mins to Santa Ana to go eat at Popeye’s which is why a drive to Boulder was a stroll in the park.

The front entrance, I point that out because it sucks going to a new restaurant and having to try and find it (these are the things you don’t admit publicly if you can’t find it, but I found Osaka’s with no issue).

It looks as though they have outdoor patio dining too.

Don’t be afraid hooman, come on in.

The menu surprised me because I thought they were going to be focused primarily on their Osaka burger, but their menu is a lot bigger.

I got the back booth next to the giant TV.

The jokes on me if I had planned on watching TV because they were playing nature scenes on loop. Well, that sucks because I can get that by looking out the window and it’s in 8k super ultra-HD (although with my vision, it’s more like 480p).

They have menu’s for daaaaaaayz here, but no dedicated lunch menu.

For lunch, they only serve their “okonomiyaki” style burger, so don’t start flipping pages.

I have never seen this system used anywhere else although it’s a lot fancier of a system than the ones widely used in Korea *beee booo*

I of course had to look into who Noodoe is (“new-doe”), and surprise, surprise. It’s a company with an office in Japan, Taipei, and an office over in L.A. county, more specifically in Diamond Bar which is my old hood, the SGV. I’d like to give a shout out to my homies over in the #626.

The waiter or waitress will be notified via their “FitBit” looking wristband (imagine how many steps they have if it has a step tracker).

The Noodoe website needs some work with their branding because of the odd range of products this company does which ranges from EV recharging stations, smart insurance?, to Swift (the service industry notification system you see here in these pics). 

In the U.S., vending machines are built like tanks because they’ll be vandalized or in this case, stolen. For what reason? Well, you can’t use it outside of the restaurant, but I can see it happening for no reason, just cuz bro.

This is such a Japanese solution which is a little over complicated (that’s what make it Japanese) because the Korean system is more than adequate. It’s not as high-tech, but pushing a button at your table notifies the server that you need something. Although maybe this hi-tech solution is lot more effective in some way, and I’ll be curious to see how the technology will play out in Boulder (in CA, amongst Asian diners, they will be familiar with the basic concept).

Good to have a “what is,” but even more importantly, repeat after me “sah-kay.”

If you’re having a hard time remembering how to say sake correctly, watch Tom Cruise get corrected on the correct pronunciation of sake from the Last Samurai.

Shochu is distilled from rice, barley, and sweet potatoes (basically grains and starches), thanks Wiki. Shochu has Boulder written all over it 

I remember all the beer/wine bars in and around U.C. Berkeley would carry the Korean version of shochu which is soju because the California liquor laws allowed it. So every sort of mixed drink was mixed with soju as a vodka alternative. Although if you’re not into mixed drinks because you think they’re too sweet, I highly recommend that you try the “chu-hi” at Osaka’s. Unlike, a lot of the overly done mixed drinks, Osaka’s simply uses a fresh blend of lemon or grapefruit juice and sugar syrup which will most likely change your mind on mixed drinks.

I love matcha (I’m declaring it).

If you know the differences between cows, bovines, bulls, heffers, to lamb and mutton, I’m sure you have matcha and green tea under your belt too.

So you went and replaced the bun hun.

The hamburger bun is an American staple that is being replaced by an item that isn’t even used in Japan as a bun. In Japan, okonomiyaki (“oh-ko-no-me-ya-key”) is a combination of a pancake and a frittata, so using it the way it’s being implemented at Osaka’s is truly unique to them.

That’s a good roster of Osaka “burgers,” so maybe I should have done the sliders.

Not a big fan of ume although I like it sparingly on food, so I was torn between the fish fillet and sukiyaki because sukiyaki and a raw egg is magical combination. Oh, and if you’re wondering if they have hamburger, they don’t. Not even the “American” has it even though it has everything a bacon cheeseburger would have, minus the ground beef hamburger patty. 

Just had to look at the other pages (the grass is always greener, my ex’s know that)

BTW, the plastic covering has a texture to it, so at certain angles with the lighting it was hard to see the fine print. It’s also why I didn’t shoot pics of all the pages because this is only part of the menu.

Nothing to see her folks, unless you come back for dinner service.
This is not a make out cove like Black Bart’s cave.

Be sure your socks don’t have holes because no shoes are allowed here.

Woah, “mochi ice cream with shochu.”

I miss the spiked milkshakes over at 25 degrees in Huntington Beach (alcohol and dessert should be more popular).

YUM, I would come back just for the red bean waffle.

I’d like to see how well this goes over in Boulder since beans aren’t typically seen as a dessert by most Americans.

As a dude, I can’t help but compare sizes… I only have a 65″.

Aside from picturing what Battlefied V would look like on this TV, I wonder if that light fixture is originally from the previous business?

Booth seating, tables, bar seating, and the “tatami” like room.
Dammn Gina, this is a lavish looking spread for only $14 (not the beer, that’s an additional $7)

Here’s another Japanese detail. With Osaka’s combos, you get to choose TWO sides, not just one. Although, some of you may be tempted to do double fries which is the reason why I mention it, it’s because the Japanese diet is a lot about moderation and variety, so you typically won’t find an endless bucket of fries.

Side salad$3
Miso soup$3
French fries$3
Sweet potato fries$4
Kale soup$5
Lot of detail$

They are quick here. Yes, it was not that busy because I decided to go at the tail end of lunch service at 1:00 pm, but still, I got my food in no time.

First of all, way bigger than I had expected.

I’d rather have quality of quantity, and I think Osaka’s falls in between quality and quantity with the two sides rounding out your meal.

I think the two dressings were yuzu (what I got) and a goma dare (a sesame based dressing).

You can tout that you’re healthy all you want, but when it comes to the highest life expectancy in the world, Japan typically ranks number one on that list. The U.S. is way further down on that list (you can read that post here).

In Japan, I’ve been to places where I ate the entire portion of fries in about three bites.

They  provided ketchup, but I’m surprised these weren’t furikake fries since we got the whole fusion bun thing going on.

Good Times is the best with their cooked to order fries, but these were good too.
The sukiyaki beef: sliced beef seasoned with sweet soy sauce, onions, green leaf lettuce, and a fried egg.

I have no issue with replacing the bun, but when you crave your mama’s cooking, to foods you grew up eating, I highly doubt anybody misses their mom’s fusion spaghetti and falafel “meatballs” with udon and a gazpacho marinara.

The meat quality and preparation here is very well done.
This is Osaka’s claim to fame which is their bun alternative.

They claim it to be more nutritionally balanced with more fiber over a typical wheat flour bun packed with preservatives.

The way I see it, I see it along the lines of Taco Bell’s marketing tagline of “it fills you up.” A lot of people eat to live, so being full is their main concern which is why I think the Osaka’s bun does. If it’s also healthier for you, cool, now I won’t be fiending for my 5th meal at Taco Bell.

BUT does it taste good? Why yes it does.

Why does it have to be a hamburger? Along with why does sushi have to be in burrito or in donut form? Typically it’s about convenience, but I also feel as though there’s this level of pandering to Americans because on Xbox Live, every Brit is yelling “oh shut up, and go eat yo bloody bu’gaaaah, you yank.” I was like whatever, I already ate one before playing. So maybe the world knows, us muricans need everything in the form of a burger.

The other guess as to why the blend of a burger and okonomiyaki is to share a dish that is famous in Osaka, Japan. I’m sure that’s the reason, but if it were up to me, I would have done a peking style Chinese pancake as  a burrito with a stir fry of pork belly, a huge mix of shredded cabbage, and other okonomiyaki ingredients such as katsuobushi, kizami shoga, Kewpie, and okonomi sauce… damn,  that sounds good.

So much detail, but I wonder how many togo orders they do.

For the quality and execution of the food, I think Osaka’s is a very good value, but I’ll let you decide how they stack up with one burger joint I like, to three of the surrounding restaurants.

Osaka’sOsaka burgertwo sides (included)$12-15
Shake ShackA double (+$8.09)fries ( $2.99)$11.08
The BuffLiberty burgerSoup, fries, or salad$13.00
Flower ChildPlates 1-3 itemsBrussel sprouts to avocado$4-$9
Happy hour is only from 5:00-6:00 pm which takes the fun out of day drinking.

Osaka’s has a great selection of alcohol and a dedicated bar, I like that.

Which position is your favorite position, this is mine.

This booth, I think is only good for a maximum of six people, but the bulk of the seating are four tops. The only large area is the tatami like room which is probably the best area for large groups.

You can sit peacefully while texting your friend the poo emoji.

You ever been in a single occupant bathroom doing your business, and another person comes up to the door and starts jostling away at like there’s a knife wielding psycho killer coming for them? Well that won’t happen here because on the outside of the door it has the “vacant” or “occupied” door lock… the future is here people (first planes, now bathrooms on Earth).

Any smart bathroom should have a dedicated urinal… how is it that homes don’t have them?

BTW, if you’re wondering why I didn’t just stop at the food, it’s because the Osaka experience extends all the way to the bathroom.

I had to include this pic in the mens bathroom.
Toto isn’t from Kansas or Kohler, Wisconsin.

I just want to brag that I’ve been to the Kohler factory showroom in Wisconsin, but I have not been to the Toto showroom although I know somebody who has, that person is Conan O’brien.

The first time I felt like I was adulting was when I bought my Dyson vacuum cleaner.

After enjoying my meal and the bird pic in the mens bathroom, it was time to head back to work.

Pros

  • Typically I can find issues with a business or a restaurant, but this business is so well rounded which makes me wonder who is behind this operation and what their background is.
  • All of the above I mentioned in my summary, so I won’t repeat them here.

Cons

  • Positioning: Osaka’s is a very foreign concept which is why they really need to define and communicate their positioning because is it a QSR, fast casual, casual, or fine dining establishment? Even though I have been, I have a hard time identifying exactly where they stand.
  • Specialization: I also don’t think there’s a clear message as to what Osaka’s specializes in. I assumed it was the “Osaka burger,” but they seemed to pull back on that messaging which makes wonder what they do since the menu has waffles, an extensive drink menu, desserts, to tonkatsu.

Osaka’s

2460 Canyon Blvd Suite #1
Boulder, CO 80302

(720) 398-9115
www.osakasrestaurant.com

Mon-SatSun
11am-3:30pm, 5-9:00pm11am-3:30pm
Advertisements

5 comments

    1. Hahahah, why did that make laugh so hard, haha. Hey, but I like Tom, he’s supposedly a very nice dude, and I’ll be sad when he leaves for planet Xenu.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: