Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tioli's "Spike Burger." And Other Teriyaki Talk..

This post is a tribute to L.A.'s Spike's Teriyaki Bowl (R.I.P).

While their product wasn't exactly of gourmet standards, for a starving student they sure had a mean Teriyaki Burger. The Spike Burger was huge, had no grilled pineapple but sliced Avocados.. and was smothered in sauce. Mmmm, think Dragon Sushi Roll. Whether the founder of Spike's - Bob Takeuchi came up with this concept or not, I consider him a genius for knowing what is good.

After experimenting with some local eateries I'm glad to know that if I ever craved the good days Spike Burger, I can have one re-created in my own backyard burger joint Tioli's. And since the quality is of sit down, it is better than the original.

There's nothing to it really. You basically order Tioli's Aloha Burger ($6.49) and opt Avocados (+$1) instead of Pineapple.

Tioli's Crazee Burger, 4201 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

So what's so hard?
Well, another neighborhood burger place, Western Steakburger, also has a Teriyaki option on their menu that is killer grilled but unfortunately did not have a lot of Teriyaki flavor.

While it was a good juicy burger, it wasn't a great Teriyaki Burger, and therefore will not make a good starting point to transform into a Spike's.
I'll eventually have a post dedicated to Western Steakburger (as well as Tioli's). It's a neat place with a lot of charm and good burgers to be had if you're in the area. It seems to be a favored spot by local law enforcement as well. :)

Western Steakburger, 2730 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

So I was content with my Tioli's Spike re-creation until my recent visit to The Flame Broiler got me thinking about Teriyaki Burgers again.
I would happily spend $7 at Tioli's when I get another craving but I just maybe felt good Teriyaki Burgers should be something more easily accessible, like what Bob Takeuchi did with Spike's (not what Carl's Jr. does as a seasonal promo).

If you don't know, The Flame Broiler is a straight up Teriyaki Bowl place. They flame broil meat and serve it over a bed of rice. It doesn't seem to try connecting itself with any particular culture or ethnic food either. It is simply, The Flame Broiler. I don't go around preaching for the place but I just enjoy coming here time to time because it's quick, relatively inexpensive, and the food is decent.

My regular size Chicken Bowl ($5.75).

Tender chicken with some nice grill char. Although marinated you get a shot of Teriyaki sauce on the side. Chopped scallions are a must for me but you can have it without.

While they do not offer Teriyaki Burgers here my thought after my meal was why not? With the existing equipment invested and trained staff I'd imagine it wouldn't be too hard. They can even put what they already serve between buns and some crisp lettuce. A Short Ribs Burger? Yess.

Ok I admit, I'm the worst backseat Restaurant Conceptualizer..

The Flame Broiler, 8867 Villa La Jolla Dr # 606, La Jolla, CA 92037

Why not just make my own? Well I can't honestly remember the last time I cooked up any kind of burger at home. For a friend's BBQ maybe. But while browsing through Marukai Market last week, I came across something that really sparked an interest..

Are these the smooth-textured blended Aibiki Patties that I've strangely sought after recently??
Any form of deprivation does weird things to a person I guess, and I've really been missing generic Japanese-style hamburgers. These are a different Burger Category on their own. The ones my old pop would make fun of where 100% beef was always considered the best. After reading the ingredients it doesn't seem to be a Pork/Beef Aibiki but a flavorful Asian inspired blend that I'm willing to try. Vicmont, DomDom, Lotteria, First Kitchen, the original MOS Teriyaki Burger.. I need to go find suitable spongy buns and creamy mayo!

Marukai Market, 8151 Balboa Ave, San Diego, CA 92111

Another burger re-creation project has been born. I should really say "reborn" because it's not my first time trying to re-create a MOS Burger with local ingredients. My first attempt failed miserably but I think I now have a few more ideas.

To be continued..


KirkK said...

Spike's is gone!!! Bummer, I used to really like that place when we lived in the area....

Dennis said...

Hi Kirk, I know I was shocked to hear myself!