You've probably seen it as you walk from Shinjuku station to Takashimaya Times Square - a nicely landscaped terrace, a bright yellow sign, and a metallic, retro-50s trailer home that's been converted into a grill.
You may not have realized, though, that here, across the street from the busiest train station in the world and up two flights of stairs, you can find not only one of the better burgers in town but also a great escape from the hustle and bustle - the frantic shinjukiness of the surroundings. And that's part of the charm of this burger joint hidden away here in the middle of Shinjuku - because it's so understated, most passersby simply pass it by.
The cafe-like Standard Deli is an eclectic, effortlessly stylish, very pleasant place to enjoy an inexpensive meal. When you enter you may notice the occasional rotating art displays, photography exhibitions, video installations or even live music sets. There's a mix of young and modern customers as understated as the shop itself, and a relaxed, open-air atmosphere. While weekends can be a little busy, weeknights are generally quiet.
The burgers are a great value for their price, generally under Y400 for a light bite or close to Y1100 for a set meal including drink and a side dish. The hamburgers and hot dogs are nicely complemented by little details like Pepsi Cola and real ginger ale in vintage glass bottles. We highly recommend the avocado burger, although the chili burger, if a bit more messy, is a close contender. Although the prices aren't too different from fast food options, the taste surely is - it is, after all, freshly grilled in a trailer home.
All in all, Standard Deli is a great place to enjoy a leisurely afternoon, or just grab a good-quality, quick bite at an excellent price. Budget around Y1000 for a simple meal, and bring your appetite, but leave your desire for linen napkins at the door. This is a restaurant that succeeds because it (refreshingly) doesn't try to be something it's not.