The search for Bang for your Burger Buck will take you to Gourmet steals, old school diner throwbacks, and those dives that keep you coming back with the simple notion that burgers are fun food, meant to be toyed with or served with toys, for lunch, brunch, dinner or that after school treat around 3pm. B-Man’s Teriyaki & Burgers slides into the latter category, but the stand out teriyaki employed in the sandwich is far from child’s play, and it is not mere coincidence that their locations lie close to the SGV.
B-Man’s is the after school special burger you would have grown up with if you grew up in the massive Asian American enclave that is the San Gabriel Valley. Their menu boasts Burgers, Rice Bowls, Teriyaki plates, Chicken Katsu, and for the high roller crowd there is the Mahi Mahi plate, tipping the Bang scales at just over $11. Egg Rolls and gyoza and chili may scream unauthentic unless you are part of the tribe, an Asian-American reared amongst an array of fellow Asian Americans, embracing each other’s national dishes and recognizing a culinary bond that is larger than any one tradition. I would go so far as to say that if you have grown up as an Asian American in Los Angeles, your palate is at home when dining from nearly every corner of the Asian contient. And since we’re in America, let’s throw in some chili fries while we’re at it.
Back to the message at hand: B-Man’s popped on Bang’s radar thanks to a shout out posting on Chowhound. The menu starts off cheap enough, $2.05 for a single hamburger, but what stood out to me was a legit shot at a tasty teriyaki burger. And since triples don’t happen as often as you would think in LA, I opted for the ABCX3 (Avocado, Teriyaki sauce, Cheese, three patties) for a whopping $6.25 pre tax. I wasn’t Mahi Mahi balling but considering 30% of my burger dollars went to lux toppings, I felt a little Jay Z when the cash register rang up.
In retrospect I would have eased up on my ordering excess. There was good amount of slip and slide happening, but keep in mind the collision of gooey cheese and slick teriyaki sauce is one tasty mess. Though ordered medium rare, the patties came out well done, though far from dry. Respect the option but for $6 there should be the delivery of requested temperature.
I’ve been called out many times by burger cognoscenti for describing swiss cheese as an 80s burger throwback. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 80’s and totally fell for those “mushroom swiss” concept burgers from the likes of Hardees/Carl’s Jr. Whatever may have been pre-programmed in the burger psyche of my youth, on this day my mouth rang out the words “swiss”. This is what the B-Man’s experience is all about: having burger fun with non haute burger toppings like teriyaki sauce and swiss cheese. The slip and slide may have totally compromised the sandwich structural integrity, it was all in good messy burger fun.
These magnificently golden, heavily oiled and most likely shipped in frozen, krinkle cut fries sums up B-Man’s perfectly. Nothing fancy, far from flawless, but tastes just right in that after school, post meatloaf day at the cafeteria, kinda way. It is your gateway to a Wonder Years esque meal if your Kevin Arnold had a best friend who spoke Tagalog. Only in LA.