Friday, December 30, 2011

The Shake Shack Serenade - New York

Temple of burger-dom
Ooh, ooh, ooh
What a little moonlight can do
Ooh, ooh, ooh
What a little moonlight can do to you

-Billy Holiday, What a Little Moonlight Can Do

Maybe it was that late autumn, early winter chill. Maybe it was the little light bulbs hanging in a park at night. Maybe it was the burgers. Whatever it is, I'm in love with Shake Shack.

Bird dog, Shack burger and Cheese Fries
I know people go crazy about analysing the anatomy of burgers. The patty - what kinds of meat; the meat : fat ratio; the weight, size and thickness; done-ness - the bun, the cheese... I can tell you none of that about my Shack Burger because I don't have a clue (but fret not, the brilliant Kenji at Serious Eats does, of course).

Shakes + burgers + hot dogs = romance
I can tell you though, that the patty was juicy and tasted like beef should have. The construction and size of the burger suggests it to be more of a fast-food type than the hefty pub/restaurant kind, making its contenders In-n-Out, Five Guys, McD's etc. I didn't get a chance to try Five Guys this time round, but lemme tell you, the Shack Burger trumps In-n-Out whatever style about 700 zillion times. Oh and I'm sorry, L.A.-ers, I forgot Apple Pan, which is probably the second cutest burger joint I've been to, and also the second-best burger I've had in my life, but Apple Pan's like a prim, straight-A's school girl while Shake Shack is the kind of kid that gets straight-A's without even going to class, and plays on the sports teams, orchestra, does community service and heads the film club.

I tried to do a porno shot. Didn't work.
It was small, perfectly formed, and fit in a single hand. The bun was the sweet, soft variety, toasted/grilled and probably buttered/oiled slightly for a crisp, fragrant edge. It's not unlike a cheap roll, and most certainly not a fancy brioche. The fillings were simple. Lettuce (not iceberg, thank goodness), thickish-cut pickles, some kind of mayo-ketchup sauce, a couple of slices of ripe tomato, a medium/medium-well-done patty with cheese melted on top. What struck me was its freshness and the "realness" of the taste. I could taste the natural umami of the tomato, the flame-licked beef, the sweetness of lettuce. How long has it been since you did that?


That's all I'm going to say, coz love needs no explanation. I couldn't give the Bird Dog so much love though. Just stick to the burger. And by going on a weekday evening, I think I managed to avoid the manic queues everyone seems to go on about.

Ah! Seriously. I'm not even a romantic kind of person, but I think I want to get married there or something.

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park
New York, NY 10010
United States of America
+1 212 889 6600

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  1. so interesting! i thought it was about the same as in-n-out, but i've heard the diff shake shack locations make a difference and that madison square garden is better than times square (where i went). the shakes were pretty dang tasty!

  2. I liked shake shack's burgers but it wasn't quite the epiphany I had hoped for. We went to Corner Bostro last night for burgers though and that was insanely good.

  3. Oops. That should be corner 'bistro'!