Shanks is not a bar you you would just stumble upon. If you did manage to stumble into the second floor of a generic building across from Sangubashi Station, you still wouldn’t think of ordering a burger. The bar serves all kinds of whiskey, along with a pleasantly varied list of high end beers and some nice wines by the glass.
In fact, I was wondering if I’d come to the right place. The two small tables and five seat bar didn’t leave a lot of room for eating, and the menu only had drinks. Yet when I asked the bartender, she pointed out there was another page to the menu, and here I finally found the two burgers they offer.
I had struck up a conversation with the guy next to me at the bar and he turned out to be a local who assured me both of the burger options were great. The bartender warned me the burger takes at least 23 hours to make (okay, maybe it was 30 minutes).
Although 30 minutes of commitment is a bit much for me, it turned out to be well worth it. The Smoky Cheeseburger lived up to its name. A rich taste, somewhat toasted bun, and some very smoky tasting cheese all combine for a completely satisfying burger experience. For $10 with no fries, it’s a bit more expensive, but the quality is fantastic (aside from some very peculiar bitter pickles on the side that are best avoided – and this is coming from someone who loves kimchi, tsukemono, umeboshi, or almost anything pickled).
Friendly people, good service and a phenomenal burger. The only thing I don’t like about Shanks is the typically Japanese ¥500 yen table charge that you get whether you order one drink or a whole meal. That just bugs me. I came to Japan to escape the land of vague tipping (oh, and maybe some culture stuff, too).
Ambience 8.5/10, Burger 8/10, Fries N/A