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5 Things to Know About TokiDoki Burger, MN’s First Japanese-Inspired Burger Joint

The folks behind Ramen Kazama are serving up American cheeseburgers by way of Japan.

Em Cassel

Welcome back to "5 Things," Viraluae’s recurring rundown of new, new-to-us, or otherwise notable Twin Cities restaurants.

This time around, we’re stopping by TokiDoki Burger, the new south Minneapolis burger joint from folks behind Ramen Kazama (which is just two doors down). Open since March 1, this neighborhood-y restaurant melds Japanese and American flavors for an original and adventurous selection of burgers and small plates.

Here are five things you should know before you go.

1. These Are Big Burgs

Let's get our biases out of the way up front: I'm more of a smash burger kinda guy, and these are not the crispy, seared, skirty patties I'd generally go out of my way to try. TokiDoki's Japanese burger blend forms a thick, soft, and fatty patty, juicy and rich, and a good three-quarters of an inch thick. It works really well with the complex flavors of the Karai Burger ($16.50), with mouthwatering pickled carrots and a gently spicy Thai chili fish sauce. The Karai also has choto karai sauce, which I'd never heard of; it's a blend of cilantro, jalapeño, and lime. The whole thing is a lot—rich and spicy, vinegary and umami-y—but it works. Add bacon and cheddar, and spear a fried shishoto pepper on top of the griddled brioche bun, and yeah—this thing'll satisfy ya.

The Tonkatsu Sando ($16.50) was similarly sized, and so wonderfully crispy. Ribbons of purple cabbage rest on top, and while there's a slight tang from the mustard, overall this is a sweeter sandwich thanks to a hearty drizzle of tonkatsu sauce. If you are a person who tends to like a little more crunch and sear on your sammies... I'm just saying, in my notes referring to this pork cutlet, I all-capped the word "CRISPYYYYY."

Em Cassel

2. And They Come with Fries!

These price points might seem eye-popping at first glance, but hold on—every burger and sando comes with a true ton of fries. Plenty of other burger joints get away with pricing their dishes similarly (you know who you are), and then you've gotta shell out another $3-$5 to add a side of fries. Crucially, TokiDoki's fries are the skinny, salty, McDonald's-style variety, and I bet they pair especially well with the Big Mac-adjacent Futsu Burger.

3. Come For the Flavor, Not For the Frills

I chuckled when I read the lede to Heavy Table's TokiDoki writeup: "I accidentally walked past the entrance to TokiDoki Burger twice." When we visited in late March there was no sign outside on the black brick building, though there was one up the last time I biked by. And the interior space was frankly pretty sparse: white walls, little to no decor, a plant or two. There are a few bar seats and booths, a few tables, and you order by phone or at the counter. But if you're expecting the cozy and warm Ramen Kazama vibe, with its walls plastered with records and art and musical gear and what have you, know that TokiDoki isn't that. At least not yet!

Em Cassel

4. Plan Your Snacky Side Order Accordingly

Settling on sandwich-accompanying snacks here was no easy choice. TokiDoki's small plates menu features everything from cheese curds covered in Kewpie Mayo and bonito flakes to salmon skin fries to nachos with Ramen Kazama's spicy pork.

We ended up opting for the Atsuage Tofu ($11.50) and the poutine ($9). The former is simple: sizeable hunks of fried firm tofu drenched in a bright-red house-made gochujang. Delicious. The latter is piled with Ramen Kazama's chasu (Japanese braised pork belly), along with curds and gravy. And while we in no way "needed" more fries than the heap that arrived alongside each sandwich, we did plow through a good number of these. Next time I'd avoid doubling up on fries though, and opt to try the curds. Or the gochujang wings. Or the rillette.

5. Ah Yes, Bevs

TokiDoki pours a good selection of sake, and has 12- or 24-oz draft beers at $5 or $10 bucks a pop. No liquor yet, but judging from the bloody that's "coming soon" on the weekend brunch menu, I'd guess it's in the works!

TokiDoki Burger
Address: 3406 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

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