Location1-9-4 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0002
There’s not just one thing that makes this Whoopi Gold Burger so idiosyncratic. Not the drawings scrawled on the walls or the stickers and magazine cutouts stuck in random places. Not the pornography pasted up in the bathroom or the loose cigarettes for sale: all part of the mise en scène in this tiny shrine to skateboarding and hanging out. Even the option for mashed potatoes, while odd, isn’t particularly unusual. It’s the menu itself where the personality lives.
Wit and whimsy are a lot of fun to use when writing a menu. New York’s legendary Carnegie Deli was an expert practitioner of this. But what you have to wonder when you sit down at Whoopi Gold Burger here in Shibuya is, Do any of these people know about this? Even putting the namesake aside, does Helena Bonham Carter know that her name is gracing an avocado burger (the Helena Bonham Burger)? And how would Steven Soderbergh feel to know that he is a burger topped with chili beans (the Steven Soderburger)? And while the Kevin Bacon Burger is both obvious and inevitable, what about the Sarah Jessica Burger? (The pronunciation of Parker and burger sound similar in Japanese.) What’s more, does she know that she is a double burger?
The one that belies the greatest act of free association is the Charlotte Gainsburger. Arriving at the joke is easy enough, but does anyone look at Charlotte Gainsbourg and envision a triple stack of patties and cheese? I don’t, but it’s what I order every time. Plus an egg. Because the only thing that makes an already interminable burger better is an extra layer of protein. Whether you picture Charlotte Gainsbourg adorned with runny fried eggs is your own business.