Review: Blacows, Ebisu


I got into a heated discussion this evening about burgers in Tokyo. I have yet to have one that can live up to Honest Burgers glory (see praise here, here and maybe here). Meanwhile, see Tokyo horror stories from Village Vanguard Diner and JS Burgers here.

So the challenge is on! First of all, time to clear my burger review backlog…

Blacows, Ebisu



This is one of the highly recommended burger places in Tokyo, always making top cut lists. Their website is full of alluring rhetoric of how much care they’ve put into everything in the burger. They don’t just put bacon in their burgers, they put bacon from “enzyme-fed Chiba Nadeshiko Pork, abundant in oelic acid which has been shown to have positive effects on beauty and health.”

Yes, they actually imply that eating their bacon will make you beautiful. I have rarely enjoyed a burger webpage so much… for the wrong reasons. This webpage didn’t invoke immediate salivation but more like grins of disbelief…

I have a confession to make upfront – I haven’t been to Blacows since April 2015. But I have been twice. And we all know that being let down on the second visit can be worse than being let down initially. It’s like going to the movies for a sequel. You know you shouldn’t get your hopes up too high, but you just can’t help it.

My first time at Blacows had been a solid enough offering – tasty enough that I thought I better give it another shot. It’s pricey but burger addicts pay for what the need.


I went straight in for a bacon cheeseburger (1700 yen plus tax) and prayed I’d be really beautiful by the time I’d finished – rather than greasy and with ketchup stains down my front.

On tucking in, I had to admit the toppings were plentiful… and it wasn’t dry.  But the flavours tragically failed to come together. The sauces – maybe partly their special barbecue sauce – were too tangy, slightly acidic, and seemed to jar with one another. And the patty itself was rather dull on its own.

It’s all comfort food that slides down easily. And I don’t doubt the quality. But, when I think of Blacows, the feeling of disappointment rests heavy on me like a black cloud (I am thinking of renaming them Black Cloud, or this could be a new, edgy rock-themed diner?)

To add to the beefy let-down, dessert was quite a flop.  I remember the cheesecake was like eating sweet air and my friend’s banana mousse dessert was so tragically bitter I felt really guilty for encouraging her to eat it.

With the outraged expressions I’ve seen at my opinion of Blacows tells me I may still be well and truly alone in my burger quest. So, by all means, go and try it. Like the majority, you might be happy.

But, come on, how hard is it to get a juicy, medium-rare patty in this city?

Blacows, Ebisu 2.5/5 – The ingredients are there but the flavours are having a fist-fight. The patty ain’t got enough juice but the price has certainly got some bite.

Where: 2 Chome-11-9 Ebisunishi, 渋谷区 Tokyo 150-0021
When: 11:00~22:00(L.O.21:00)

I think this Google review nails it pretty nicely in simple words:


Author: Phoebe Amoroso

Phoebe Amoroso is a Tokyo-based reporter, multimedia journalist and storyteller. Hailing from the UK, she moved to Japan in 2014 and has since been shouting about the country to all who will listen. She divides her time between covering breaking news and producing feature stories for TV; writing about everything from business and tech to food and travel; and guiding hungry visitors who want to sample the best of Japanese cuisine. When not working and/or eating, she can often be found running up a mountain or cycling by the sea.

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