Happy 2016 folks!
2015 went by in a blink. Although it felt short-lived, it was filled with life altering changes for us, and plenty of adventures in eating. What better way to send off the year (before ringing in the new one with healthy eating resolutions) than to stuff our faces with the richest, most calorie-dense foods we could find?
Shake Shack Tokyo has been on our radar for some time now, but rumors of long lines deterred us from going. Not that we were any smarter by deciding to go on the last day of the year–December 31st–when most everyone had the day off and plenty of tourists were in town. By the time we arrived around 1:30pm, the line was already about 350 people deep (outside), not to mention the additional line inside the restaurant of about 20 people. Did we do it? Why yes, the greedy meat-loving parts of our brains won out over all reason, and we queued up. For 1.5 hours. And an additional 20 minutes to wait for a table inside and our food. Don’t let this deter you from going folks–the wait was particular long this day since it was a holiday.
After our long wait, errrthing on that menu looked spectacularly good:
We figured we deserved to treat ourselves after patiently waiting in line like civilized folks (while our stomachs were raging) so we ordered plenty…and then some.
I opted for one of the most splurge-worthy items on the menu: the Shake Stack–a cheeseburger AND a fried mushroom burger, all in one.
Oh, the smart people at Shake Shack decided to one-up the traditional mushroom burger by stuffing a fried portabella mushroom cap with muenster cheese + cheddar cheese. This is in addition to the beef patty and cheddar of the cheeseburger. Not even gonna check the nutritional info on this one.
Mr. S ordered the SmokeShack burger (a double), with bacon and a chopped cherry peppers sauce:
You can’t come to Shake Shack and not try all the gut-busting side orders that this burger joint is so well-known for.
Cheese fries are a must. Krinkle cut fries are extra crunchy and fun to eat, especially smothered in a rich nacho cheese sauce:
Don’t skip dessert either. Shake Shack’s famous “concretes”–frozen custard ice-cream with mix-ins–are a must-order here. The Tokyo branch has some specific combinations that you can only find here in Tokyo. The “Tokyo Edition” concrete consisted of vanilla and chocolate custard, black sesame puree, and cocoa nibs.
Despite the long lines (nothing unexpected in Tokyo), we found the food to be the most authentic American style burgers that we’ve found so far here in the city. Greasy, somewhat sloppy, and a coarse-ground, well-salted beef patty reminded us of the burgers we used to get back home, much like at one of our faves–Five Guys Burgers. We’d definitely come back for more, but probably on a less crowded weekday next time.
Here’s why I think Shake Shack will do well here in Tokyo:
1. It’s a New York import. (The only thing that’d make it even more popular would be if it were from Portland! Seriously? Yea, Japanese love things from Portland.)
2. The burgers are greasy and sloppy. No pretention here. No perfectly toasted buns and formed patties with a choice of teriyaki sauce and add-an-egg like most other burger shops in Tokyo.
3. Crinkle cut fries are where it’s at. More crunchy bits per square area.
4. A vegetarian option burger that is greasy and soul-satisfying: the fried ‘Shroom Burger.
5. Concrete frozen custard–a unique creation of Shake Shack with some tasty Tokyo-specific ingredients like black sesame and yuzu-miso caramel!
6. Fifty-fifty–(aka Arnold Palmer) the half lemonade, half ice-tea is the most authentic-tasting version we’ve tried in Tokyo.
7. There’s plenty of outdoor seating. Perfect for summertime, people-watching, and dog-friendly!
8. Flat-top hot dogs are griddled until crisp, with spicy toppings like sport peppers.
9. 100% coarse-ground beef patties that don’t have the texture of a meatball (which is prevalent at many Japanese burger joints).
10. In true American style–big portions and no skimping on the cheese!
Shake Shack Tokyo, Kita Aoyama 2-1-15, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-10pm