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May 21, 2007 10:13 PM

Shack Shack Review - Finally (Long)

Well, we finally went to Shake Shack last night after chickening out so many times b/c of the long lines. I've been dying to try this place after first hearing about it on this site right after it had closed last Fall for the season.

At 8:30PM, the wait was approximately 45 minutes and then another 20 minutes or so for the food. We went there knowing they'd be a wait so we weren't upset by it. I was impressed by their attempts at setting up the menu stands and other signage. There was definitely a sufficient # of tables and chairs and, although it was a really nice night in a very nice environment, people don't hang at the tables forever. Geez, I actually never saw such a large, civilized group of people together in one place.

I also appreciated the system with the buzzers to indicate that the food is ready for pick-up. I wish the lines were shorter and perhaps there are ideas for speeding it up but they seem to be responsive by setting up a good system unlike so many other places that seem to be clueless.

I was impressed with the condiment stand. [chuckle]. Everything was so well-maintained (despite the # of people picking stuff) and the thermos of cold water (yup, it was wonderfully cold) was a really nice thought. The guy cleaning the stand directed me back to the window for cups . He was really, really nice about it. The folks doing all the work in the back were going non-stop and were extremely pleasant and polite despite the endless work. It also seems like they have a good cooling system inside which I'm sure helps tremendously.

Now for the food. After reading a couple of mixed reviews here, I had wondered if it was just the environment and the experience. So I didn't quite know what to expect. I got the double with sauce and lettuce. The burgers were a great size (nice and thick) and the taste was outstanding. It may even surpass Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien, my favorite burger place. Aside from the great tasting burger, perfectly cooked, the sauce is really outstanding. I completely agree with those on other posts who said the sauce makes the burger .

I went in expecting raw , crinkle-cut fries, practically still frozen on the inside and sort of mushy. I guess this is what I had envisioned (worse case scenario) after reading the reviews on the fries. Surprisingly, they were crispy and cooked well done but not burnt. Sure, I've had far better fries but I've had far worse fries in countless other places.
The order of fries was very generous as was the size of the coke unlike the size of coke
from Le Parker Meridien.

So, while I will always love the food at Le Parker Meridien, I gotta say I'll definitely be a regular at Shake Shack until they close next Fall. I was also amazed at how neat everyone was about throwing away their stuff. ...And not a homeless person to be seen. Just a really nice group of folks enjoying great burgers. Just a very cool setting with great food. Thanks, Hounds, for telling me about this place!

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  1. The cheese fries are addictive too...

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Nice review, nativeNYer! If you really think the burger's better than at Burger Joint, I might just have to check this out.

        8 Replies
        1. re: cimui

          please get back to me if/when you do, cimui. i am curious to hear what you think.
          could my opinion have been swayed b/c i was impressed with the thought and care they put into their setup? could be but, darn, that burger was good!

          1. re: nativeNYer

            I went to the Burger Joint last week for the first time to try their burger and I thought it was one of the blandest tasting burers I've ever had. Maybe I just got a bad showing but it had no flavor to me. I was really wanting to like it too! Could you tell me what you enjoy about that burger?

            I live near the park so I have had many Shake experinces with no line so I am obviously a little biased about shake being the best. (but I should probably give BJ one more chnace in case it was a fluke)

            1. re: roze

              Hi Roze, you are not alone. My co-workers had been talking about Burger Joint for weeks so finally we went. For $6, the burger was not the least bit value for money. The meat was ovecooked for my taste, there was no flavor in anything and the fries were just typical frozen shoestring. I was so disappointed that i wasted 10 bucks there on the worst burger I've had in town.

              But then again....I'm from California. It doesn't get much better than a burger for less then 3 bucks at In-and-Out and you know it's going to be good. Although I was at POP burger in meatpacking a few weeks ago, and their sliders are surprisingly delicious! 2 for $5 too!

              1. re: kelea

                I hope BJ is not slipping. I haven't been in a couple of months. I like the BJ burger b/c it's thick and flavorful (i.e. charcoal grilled taste). But, the burger at Shake Shack might even be better, especially b/c of that sauce, which I agree might even be better with a bit of a kick. It's likely that, b/c you had Shake Shack first, there's no turning back. I'll try BJ soon and let you know. How I long to try In-And-Out....

                1. re: nativeNYer

                  Maybe it just depends on the 'type' of burger you like. I've only paid one visit to the Burger Joint, but I'm in no rush to go back. The burger was fine, but I didn't get what all the fuss was about - it tasted like a plain burger. The Shack's burger seems seasoned, which makes a huge difference to me, so maybe it's just a matter of whether you prefer a straightforward beefy-tasting burger or a patty that's been seasoned. If I'm about to wait on a long line, I'd better love the burger (like I do the Shack's).

                2. re: kelea

                  Glad to hear it wasn't just me--and thanks- I've had Pop burger on my list for a while now and you've reminded me to try it out.

                3. re: roze

                  HERESY! =) Just kidding. My B.J. burgers are usually thick and delectable and medium rare without too much added adulteration--which is just how I like them. I started out in the burger mix-ins camp, but have "advanced" to purism. Just a wee bit of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper seared into the outside, and a nice healthy red on the inside. Exactly like a good steak.

                4. re: nativeNYer

                  it is that darn good! it's all about the bun, imho.

              2. Excellent review! And you hit upon all of the points that make Shake Shack near and dear to my heart. Next time, try one of the custards!

                1 Reply
                1. re: kathryn

                  tried a black and white shake which was good. next time cheese fries, custard and concrete jungle... well, maybe not all at once!! : )

                2. Just tried Shake Shack last week while visiting NY for the first time (thanks to all the chounders for the rec!). Had the shroom burger - it is awesome, but I do think the 'shake sauce' could use a bit of kick though... The fries were great - crispy and piping hot. All in all, awesome experience. We loved it so much, we went back a second time. Unfortunately, the fries didn't hold up the second time around, but the shroom burger sure did! Luckily for my waistline I don't live in NY, or I'd be there daily. So nice to eat in the park - and it's true, everybody is pretty friendly.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: tochipotle

                    I find that the Shack sauce is just about perfect on the burger, though; the burger has a bit of a salty crust which probably gives the sauce that "kick" you were craving.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      Speaking of salt, I read a recent post several weeks ago regarding the salty taste of the Shake Shack burgers. That wasn't my experience at all last night. Perhaps they read the post and fixed the problem.

                      1. re: nativeNYer

                        I actually love the salty crust! Sometimes they salt too much. I am assuming the problem is that they've hired a lot of new employees this season, with the addition of the 2nd grill.

                        1. re: nativeNYer

                          I was one of the salt complainers, and the last two times I've been back, the burgers weren't salty at all. In fact, I thought they could use a tiny bit more kick. Ah well.