Like many Japanese signs written in English, I’m sure Reg-On means something. It’s probably clever. Like many Japanese signs written in English, it’s also incomprehensible. I can spell it phonetically in Japanese katakana, but I have no clue what it means.
Luckily, my lack of clues didn’t stop me from tracking down the rather hidden Reg-On Diner in the back streets between Shibuya and Ebisu. It’s not really close to any train station. Most train stations are about 20 minutes apart by foot, and Reg-On is about 10 minutes from the closest station.
Despite these terrible obstacles, I managed to overcome and with the aid of my trusty phone I found Reg-On Diner on a cold winter’s night.
This is probably the Japanese mental image of what a small American diner looks like. They got a few things wrong. First of all, nowadays it’s tough to get a liquor license so possibly those bottles of Coors, Budweiser, Corona, Tecate and Brooklyn Lager wouldn’t be there. Also, the immaculate bathroom wouldn’t exist in an American diner (I’m not sure what to make of the July 2000 Mademoiselle cover featuring TLC hanging on the bathroom wall? Again, no clue.)
Still, American diners sometimes make a pretty damn good burger, and so does Reg-On. The avocado burger I ordered might be a bit fancier than diner fare, but I’m okay with that. The avocado was perfectly ripe, like most Japanese burger joints. I don’t know how they do it since I can spend 3.5 hours in an American Whole Foods trying to find one avocado with no brown spots. The tomato was nicely ripe as well, an almost mythical thing in American produce.
The patty had a nice charbroiled flavor and good texture. There was even a hint of spice; just enough to give the aftertaste a bit of a kick but not change the flavor of the burger. The super springy buns that crushed down made for a good burger to bun ratio and the flavors all pulled together nicely.
I wouldn’t have minded some more onions and I tend to like thinner fries as it’s almost impossible to cook large wedges perfectly. These were quite crispy for the most part, with only a few undercooked stragglers. Some more seasoning on the fries would’ve been nice, too. Some tasty gherkin pickles rounded out the approximately $11 meal.
I don’t know what Reg-On means, I’m not sure why TLC had a place of honor in the bathroom, but I’m positive I will be back for another burger if I’m ever in the neighborhood. If it were 5 minutes closer to Shibuya station I’d be there all the time.
Ambience 8/10, Burger 8/10, Fries 7/10