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Rice burger joint Yonekichi opens today

By Rheanna O'Neil Bellomo

In spite of the ramen burger’s continued success in creating three-hour lines at Smorgasburg, a new round from Yonekichi puts rice in the spotlight—and might also end up on our list of the city’s weirdest burgers. The Japanese burger shop, which soft-opened today in the former Otafuku space, steams and grills rice-patty buns for burgers filled with chicken tsukune (meatball), barbecue eel and kakiage (tempura vegetables). Toppings range from scallions, shishito peppers and avocado to over-easy eggs, pickled radishes and tempura flakes, while sides of potato-wedge fries are sprinkled in either plum, yuzu or wasabi-flavored salts.

There’s no entrance to the take-out only restaurant. Instead, order from a window at the façade, which is decked out in Japanese lanterns emblazoned with owner Bon Yagi’s (Soba-Ya, Curry-Ya, Hi-Collar) coat of arms. You’ll be able to order daily from noon–10pm through the end of August. Hours extend next month. 236 E 9th St between Second and Third Aves (646-669-9785,


Tsukune: chicken meatball patty with special sauce, shishito peppers and Tokyo scallions, $7.75
Ginger Mugifuji: thinly-sliced pork shoulder with ginger soy sauce and lettuce, $8
Kinpira: sautéed lotus root with carrot, sesame seeds and togarashi threads, $6.50
Kakiage: onion, kale and carrot tempura with shiso and akoh salt, $7.25
Sukiyaki: thinly-sliced beef with onion, lettuce and togarashi threads, $7.75
Saikyo salmon: miso salmon with pickled daikon radish, shiso and sakura miso, $9
Unagi: barbecue eel with avocado, tempura flakes and shredded egg crepe, $9
Potato wedges with akoh salt, plum kombucha salt and sansho pepper, yuzu salt or wasabi salt, $3–$6

Kinpira burger at Yonekichi

Unagi burger at Yonekichi

Sukiyaki at Yonekichi

Kakiage burger at Yonekichi

Tsukune burger, with added soft-boiled egg, at Yonekichi


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