Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Best Burger in NYC Search: Shake Shack

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park (Cross St: Madison Ave & E. 23rd)
Burger: The Double ShackBurger ($7.25) 

Let's be clear: we maintain no bias, all burgers are treated equally. Our reviews of what we hope to be the best burgers in NYC follow the same practical evaluation and judgment follows a three section analysis (ha, lets not get too serious here...its burgers). Yet, it's no secret, we have a soft spot for a certain type of burger. That taste bud tempting burger that combines a greasy spoon fast food style burger with secret sauce, grilled onions, melted cheese and a fresh bun gets us every time. Still, we continue to be on the lookout for a different kind of burger that will take our breath mouths away. If we're going to find something different, something new, we certainly live in the right city. When it comes to the genius that is Danny Meyer, we realize his Madison Square Park burger joint, Shake Shack, doesn't recreate the wheel with their burger. But, in yours truly's opinion, there aren't many that do it better. Plain and simple.

Our Expectations: The Double ShackBurger. Two fresh steer burgers (ground daily) with meat from who else - Pat LaFrieda, American cheese, Shack Sauce (mayo-based, but all else is secret), lettuce, and tomato on a potato (yeah!) roll. Onions and pickles are optional and served on the side. All Shake Shack burgers are cooked medium, but take our word for it after plenty of experience eating at Shake Shack (we're "experts" remember?), burgers always come between medium and medium well. Among the expectations we normally have, we also expected a serious line. Of course, most New Yorkers know about the consistent line at Shake Shack and that's why the Shake Shack website provides a "Shack Cam." Check it out for yourselves here. Either way, we also expected the usual tourist questions from passerbys: "Is the burger worth the wait?" or "How fast does this line go?" Those questions might be as consistent as the line.

The Burger

Meat: Lets get our first and only complaint of the ShackBurger's meat out of the way: It's a slightly tough. Not to say it doesn't taste fresh, because it is, as advertised. Yet, we wish it was cooked to temperature in a better manner. Definitely more medium well than medium. Now the seasoning, it rocks our world. Some of the best we've butter. It's perfect, Brett just won't shut up about it! As for the patties, their size is to our liking. They maintain their texture throughout and aren't overwhelmed or drowned by the bun or toppings.

Toppings: Some delicious stuff going on here. The toppings on the ShackBurger won't suffocate you, as some best NYC burger candidates might. The Shack Sauce drips gently over the patties, with just enough to add flavor without cramping the meat's style. The lettuce and tomato are fresh and the American cheese melts like a blanket of gooey goodness over both patties. When ordering from Shake Shack, you're doing yourself no favors by leaving off the toppings...especially the Shack Sauce. DO IT! If you're going to wait on line for an hour plus, you better get whats good, and whats good are these toppings.

Bun: The perfect bun. We really shouldn't have to say more. But, our review demands more and we'd never leave our readers hanging. Shake Shack uses a glorious and fresh potato roll. From this, we've decided a potato roll or bun of some sort should be the default. Don't mess with sesame or white rolls. Leave the brioche for the heathens. Serve us a burger on a potato roll and you'll win our hearts. As for why this bun is the best, besides being made from spuds, we'd use the words soft and flavorful and tell you that its expertly toasted. We challenge you to find much better.

Bedlam's Shake Shack

Meat (47): Immense flavor, addictive taste. We order two at a time...check the pics. Though, it leaves us wanting more in the texture category, but that doesn't prevent our double order.

Toppings (23):
Shake Sauce is a must, American cheese blends well, all the rest are fresh and crunchy. Solid bunch.

Bun (25):
Perfection. Buttery, sweet, soft and a perfect compliment to the patty.

95 out of 100


  1. As I read this review my salivary glands were in over drive! Sounds like a great burger joint -for us burger lovers! Thanks guys -I've got to try this place - by the way ---can a guy on a budget afford a burger plus fries here???
    loved the review - a Bronx native

  2. Coming from the West Coast on a burger mission, I wish you guys would post more about the seasonings. The MOST disappointing thing to me is when the seasonings overpower the meat. Onion powder is a NO NO!!! Please please please elaborate.

  3. Steven: Thanks for the great feedback! You can definitely afford some fries at Shake Shack, you wont break the bank. Plus, theyre pretty tasty!

    Anonymous: We're right there with you. Seasoning shouldnt take over, the meat needs to shine for a burger to truly be called the best burger in NYC. We try to take a bite out of every burger without the toppings and try the meat on its own. Thats how we truly determine the freshness and flavor. Shake Shack ranks highest on the flavor scale at this point, go try it when you visit!

  4. Will like to know more info about the seasoning