Practically every weekday lunch, Me and my Giant Joel usually have the same routine. One of us calls the other up by around 12 noon, and say, "Game?" and if the other isn't busy, we head on out of the office for lunch. We usually get into a conversation about work or something during our noontime stroll, and without even thinking or talking about it, we find ourselves in "Walter Mart" Pasong Tamo. When we're in Walter Mart, the default (and most reliable) restaurant to eat at is definitely Pancake House, but we try to change things us sometimes by going to Max's and The Old Spaghetti House as well (Of course this was before we discovered Kitch' Cafe was just nearby).
Joel has always been mentioning that he'd like to go to try passing by Sango, the Japanese Burger joint one time. With two of the past three weeks being crazy busy in the office, I thought we would have enough time to walk to Mile Long to give "The Burger Master" a shot (It's not actually that far, I'm just lazy).
If you go to Sango for the first time and can decide what you want to order in two minutes, you deserve a medal. The menu is so vast, they could probably sell a "King James" version of it at National Book Store. With (count em') Twenty Seven Burgers (four of them "Rice Burgers") to choose from, you can tell Sango is serious about staking their claim as the Burger Master.
Although they do specialize in burgers, Sango is by no means a fast food joint. It's more of a "Fast Casual" place that takes pride in the fact that every meal is cooked to order and though they make no secret that they take a little bit longer than your average burger restaurant, they guarantee you that it's worth it.
Though I have tried Sango's famous Master Cheese Burger in the past (or in my case, umm.. "Master DOUBLE Cheese Burger.. Don't judge me) via delivery, This was my first time to eat at the restaurant itself. With it's tomato based meat sauce, I found it a bit too risky to order while I was in the office expecting some clients later that afternoon (Ah, the perils of a hyper-acidic picky eater never ends), so I decided to stay away from that. Which is a shame, because the burger is actually quite delicious, and the meat sauce is really good. Imagine a sweeter version of a good old fashioned "Sloppy Joe" poured on top of a juicy beef patty, on a bun. I honestly don't know what's so Japanese about it though.. save for the Japanese Mayo, the Master Burger could actually have any citizenship it wanted (Maybe not Iraqi. I heard it really sucks there now).
The quality of the burger, however, is betrayed by the crappy bun they insist on using. I'm not looking for an overly complicated oat bun like Burger Avenue or Brother's Burger uses. But the texture of the bun that Sango uses is a little weird.
I saw the picture on their wall showing their "Kimpira Rice burger", that had bacon in it. I was contemplating ordering it, until I saw that just below where the word "Bacon" was written , there was also "Nori" (I usually stop reading things on menus "Bacon"). Since I'm not a fan of Seaweed, I thought I'd just try something else. Besides, I find the concept of "Rice Burgers" strange.
Joel ordered their Master Fries (Regular P115/Large P135) to go with his meal. It's basically Chili Cheese fries without the heat. Sango uses the thick cut fries that I'm not too fond of, although when it was mixed in with their famous "Master Sauce" it was pretty hard to resist it. I also think they should have used melted cheese, instead of what seemed to be Cheese singles cut up into squares. Still quite good, nonetheless.
Joel ordered the Chicken Teriyaki Burger with Tartar sauce (P180). I knew that's what he was going to order, because thats what was on the Lamp post billboard we saw when we decided to go there (Advertising pays off, peeps). We were a little taken aback when they placed it in our table, because it initially looked like a lettuce burger with a little chicken teriyaki in it.
A closer look at it showed that it wasn't as bad as we thought it was, with the chicken just really getting overwhelmed by the amount of lettuce. Personally, I would have probably removed half, if not all of the lettuce (But that's just me). I didn't try it, but Joel finished it with no complaints (He doesn't eat much so that probably means it was really good).
I decided to try the newest addition to their menu, The Oroshi Dog (P155), mainly to make Rina Jealous. The Oroshi dog is basically a "Tempura Dog" (Rina is a fan of both)- Instead of a shrimp, they deep fried a hot dog in Japanese bread crumbs, slapped it on a hot dog bun, poured a healthy (or unhealthy) amount of Japanese mayo on it, then sprinkled with a little green onions, ginger and radish (I asked them to leave out the radish though).
Tempura lovers will get a kick out of how they even include a side of tempura sauce for you to pour on your hot dog, giving it an even more authentic tempura dog experience.
The bread coating of the hot dog gave it a beautiful golden brown color, and was fried perfectly. The mixture of all the elements, the sweetness of the ginger, and tempura sauce, fused with the savory taste of the hot dog meat worked well for me - although the coating did make it heavier than usual (A bread coated Hot dog on Bread. Go figure), but since it was going to be my lunch, for me, it was just right (I also had a side of regular fries with it just to be sure hehe).
Before I ordered it, I was a bit worried that the hot dog would get totally lost in the bread coating, but my first bite totally dismissed that notion. Thankfully the dog they used was large and juicy enough to hold its own as the foundation of the Oroshi Dog. (Thank god they didn't use those small red ones from Purefoods hehe)
I didn't order a shake like Joel did because I was planning on saving room for dessert. I was hoping for something along the lines of "Banana Tempura ala Mode" or a "Crepe Samurai", but it wasn't on the menu, so I had to settle for their "Strawberry Cornflake Shake". It was pretty basic.. Vanilla soft serve Ice cream with Kellog's cornflakes and Smuckers Strawberry Jam.. Nothing that couldn't be made in your own kitchen if you had the right components. But I'd be willing to pay the P80 bucks for it, just so I don't need to make the effort to do it myself (I told you I was lazy).
During the Lenten Season, upon the reccomendation of my friend, The Condo Chef, I also tried the Fish Burger, which i loved.
With a wide array of Burgers, Hot Dogs and Rice meals to choose from, I don't think this will be my last trip to Sango. It's a nice attempt at a "East Meets West" burger stop that has something for everyone.