LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

“Fusion,” or even “Asian fusion,” can mean a whole bunch of different things, a lot of which are tantamount to confusion and a lot of which aren’t good.

Which is so not the case at Bachi Burger.

No offense to the Bachi-ites, but it seems so obvious on the face of it that I don’t know why we haven’t seen this sooner (so maybe that’s the simple genius of it): Take the gourmet-burger craze and the dazzling popularity of updated Asian food, smack them together, and what do you get? Asian-inspired burgers, and burger-inspired Asian food.

Like Bachi Burger’s steamed sandwiches, which sure don’t sound that exciting, but trust me. You know char siu bao, those venerable Chinese steamed barbecued-pork buns? OK, think about that dough, only instead of being formed into a ball and filled with barbecued pork, it’s in an oval, with a filling on one half, the other half flopped over the top, then served in a trio, like sliders. Those come in three varieties at Bachi Burger. I had the pork-belly version, which was thick slices of flavor-filled, relatively lean and totally tender pork, layered with a slice of radish, a slice of hard-cooked egg, some chopped scallion and chopped cilantro, then doused with a bit of Chinese black vinaigrette and enough hoisin-based barbecue sauce to make it a little messy. I have to tell you it was a party in my mouth, all of that earthy and mellow and springy and autumnal and neutral and spicy all in there together, with a whole smorgasbord of textures. Wow, wow, wow.

But the burgers aren’t exactly boring at Bachi Burger either. Well, you can get a pretty conventional, fairly boring burger, but why would you when you can have a Kiki’s Burger? I don’t know who he or she is, but we sure loved their burger ($8.50), with sauteed shiitake and eryngii mushrooms, caramelized bacon, a sweet onion marmalade and a slice of melted Gruyere, on a ciabatta bun, the burger itself nice and thick and cooked medium-rare, just like we asked. Lots of assertive flavors there with the bacon and onions and Gruyere, but they all played nice and made for a fantastic burger.

We have to love a place that makes its own pickles without labeling them “artisan,” because these made-in-house babies were certainly worthy of that often-undeserved label. We were served two largish rectangular plates with little mounds of pickled vegetables spaced out on them. There were radish halves, sliced radishes, eggplant, garlic, red onion and Asian pickles, and every one was carefully executed with just the right sweet-sour balance, crispness, color and flavor.

Even the fries were a delight. The sweet-potato fries were thicker than most, which meant the interiors were creamier than most, and they were sprinkled with kaffir-lime salt, served with a yuzu aioli. The garlic salt and pepper fries had been tossed with cilantro, garlic, hot pepper and onion garlic salt and served with a chili aioli. Both arrived in big cones with the sauces in dishes at their feet.

And dessert, how could we resist dessert? I’m not sure what makes these doughnuts Portuguese, but they were quite nice, round puffs rolled in a strongly flavored cinnamon-sugar and served with gelato.

Service throughout was fine, things arriving and leaving as they should, everything dealt with pleasantly. The place itself is a little shopping-center stark, but that’s OK; this is a burger joint, after all.

A very creative, innovative and addictive burger joint.

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Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense.