April 5, 2005
Danny Meyer's retro-slick "roadside food stand" in Madison Square Park, Shake Shack, reopened for business yesterday after its winter hiatus and today I headed over to get a taste of what New York magazine has dubbed the best burger in the city (and yes, I'm a mindless drone who checks out what the media says is good).
I tend to not wander above 14th Street often so I have not had burgers here before. I did try their Chicago-style hot dogs back when they were serving them out of a fancy hot dog cart two years ago. Didn't think much of them one way or the other. I prefer German wursts myself (ummm.... currywursts). Anyway, when I showed up at around 1 today, I was shocked by the stupendous line. It was almost out the park.
I wonder if it had to do with the wonderful weather today (mid-60s and sunny) or, more likely, it's because New York magazine annointed it the best. Aren't we all suckers for acting like a herd...
It took about 40 minutes to get through the heinous line.
And New York magazine wasn't kidding. It's a damn fine burger. Best in the city? Perhaps. I don't go around eating burgers from every corner of the city, but I'm pretty sure this is the best burger below 34th Street. [I may not wander above 14th often, but I go above 34th even rarer still. So I won't pretend to know what's good up there. It might as well be another borough to me.]
I still think Daniel Boulud's fancy-pants burger from DB Bistro Moderne is better, but it's not a fair comparison, now, is it? This certainly wins on price/performance ratio by a wide margin.
The Cheese Burger is on top ($3.55). Below that is the Shack Burger ($3.95), which is the Cheese Burger plus lettuce, a slice of tomato and "Shack Sauce" (I thought it was mayo when I wolfed it down). The patties, ground from sirloin and brisket, were perfectly grilled, still a little pink in the center, very juicy and a flavorful, beefy taste. Both fantastic, but I preferred the Shack Burger a bit more.
I've always wished we had a In-N-Out here in NY. No more. This is better. I have a new wish: I wish Shake Shack operated year-round.
Chicago Hot Dog ($2.50). Vienna all–beef dog on a poppy seed bun. Topped with lettuce, tomato, sport peppers, green peppers, pickles, onion, neon relish, cucumber, celery salt and mustard.
I didn't eat this (I've already tried it a couple of years ago). Like I said before, I'm not a big hot dog fan. Looks pretty good, though, doesn't it? My buddy who ate this said while it was good, when he comes here next, he would go for 2 burgers (or a double burger) instead of a burger and a 'dog like this time. Good call, I think.
Cheese Fries ($2.45). Just cheese fries. Nothing special.
We also tried their vanilla frozen custard ($2.95 for a single, not pictured) and a Concrete Jungle ($5.75, pictured above), which is a vanilla frozen custard blended at high speed with hot fudge, bananas and peanut butter. Both yummy, but I wouldn't wait on line for more than 5 minutes for either. Also good is their cutely named grape soda float, called Purple Cow ($3.90).
Looks like I'll be wandering above 14th Street a little more often this summer...
Shake Shack, Madison Square Park, Southeast Corner, (212) 889-6600
Food & Drink