Satisfy Everyone (Except the Anorexic) at Shake Shack

Burger rating: 8/10
FA Rating: FF
Price: $

Out of the ridiculous amount of options in the affordable gourmet burger fad, Shake Shack stands out not only as a perfect exemplar of what this fad is all about (i.e. Pat LaFrieda meat, affordability, deliciousness, and the probability of a long wait in line) but also one that will continue to be a successful and expanding chain. Speaking of which, Boston is getting one soon! I hope the Beantown menu doesn't suck.

These guys are delicious. They provide all the indulgence of the McDonaldsyness that part of your brain secretly (or not so secretly, depending on your level of self-awareness) desires without the guilt that would come to most of us these days if we were to actually take a Big Mac down the hatch. Of course it also tastes better, it won't be so smushed, and it will definitely be fresh. Oh and potato buns rule of course. Any time my ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices can agree on something, I'm happy.

I also tried the shroomburger, not only to test out how they're doing on the vegetarian option front, but also because it enticed me with the fact that the melted muenster/cheddar cheese combo was stuffed inside the "burger," ready to ooze out.

Ready, set..
I highly recommend this experience.

The same day I tried that one was also a cold December day, and so I opted to forgo another shake in favor of the seasonal salted peanut butter hot chocolate. Holy hyper indulgence! Good god, this was tasty for sure, but the custard they use in this tasted like melted butter, eggs and, especially when you consider how many calories the peanut butter must also contribute to this thing, just a bit too much guilt. It's so thick and necessarily so small, that it's not the wisest choice for keeping warm while walking the streets of Manhattan. Just get a shake or a beer and eat inside where it's warm.. if you can find a seat that is.

Also the service, so far as I've experienced it, is always friendly.

Cute little update: 4.15.2011:

An acquaintance who's apparently read my blog a little and who was about to go to NYC for a few days asked me for advice on where to eat near Columbia, where he'd be staying. Among other suggestions, I told him all about Shake Shack, suggesting that if he were up for it, he really ought to go in for the shack stack.

Here's what he had to say, "Hey, thanks for all the great advice! I had a lengthy reply all typed out for you on Wednesday night, but then my browser crashed. All I have with me up here is my iPhone, so needless to say I have to keep this short for now, but I'll send a full reply when I get back. :-) And holy shit, the Shack Stack was amazing!"

Foodie Asshole feels good :]

Shake Shack - Theater District on Urbanspoon

On the menu:

While satisfying the neophobes by keeping the main menu pretty simple and constant (and, you know, serving the all-American menu of burgers fries, and shakes), the neophiles are also catered to with daily drink specials that change all the damn time (to name a very few that I've seen: Georgia Peach, Egg Nog, Figgy Pudding, Chocolate Orange Chestnut Swirl..). If one wanted to, one could also make it one's quest to go to each location (other than the Citi Field one, anyway) as each has specials on its menu. Some are simply cutely named concoctions, such as, "Upper West Slide", "Natural History Crunch-stellation", "The Concrete Jungle", though those you could concoct as "make your own"s at other locations for a bit more money. There are also some ingredients individual to certain locations, making separate pilgrimages slightly more enticing:

-At the Madison Square Park location, one can get a Vitamin Creamsicle Shake: Shake Shack's vanilla shake blended with the very specific David Kirsch Vitamin-Mineral Orange Super Juice.

-The Upper East Side location seems to be the only place you can get pineapples and maraschino cherries, which come in the Pineapple Upper East Side Cake (Get it? It's a tiny stretch), which also consists of the vanilla custard, shortbread and caramel.

-The newest spot, in Miami, features a vanilla shake with Key Lime Pie (of course), as well as the cleverly but ironically named Shack Beach Diet: vanilla custard, coconut-passion caramel (ohh la la!), and fresh kiwi. I think that one is allowed in phase 8, you know, the phase when you retire somewhere in Florida and let yourself go after you and your life partner reach the age where you're not going to be sexually attracted to each other anyway.

-I saved my favorite, and the only one of the specials I've tried, for last. A trek to the Theater District location will score you "Jelly's Last Donut": vanilla custard, Doughnut Plant donuts, strawberry preserves, cinnamon and sugar. Hell yeah, worth the Lactaid for sure. It was fucking delicious. I only wish they would provide wider straws.

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