Restaurant Review: Shake Shack

Filed under it's fun to be fat, living in new york is neat, narcissism, restaurant ramblings

After a long afternoon of doing everything we could to not so much as look outside, Boyfriend Kamran and I decided that it’d be a real waste of his astronomical Manhattan rent if we didn’t take the short jaunt down to Madison Square Park and enjoy the 6th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, even if it meant melting on the sidewalk two feet outside the door.

Unfortunately, we decided this at 5:30 p.m., and the thing ended at 6, so by the time we reached Madison Ave., the crowds were leaving with heaping takeout containers of pork. We passed some tents on Madison but went on into the park in hopes that the best BBQ would have prime locations there, but we were soon lost amidst beer and dessert tents and lots of laughing, pig-filled sweaty people. When we finally wove our way out, police officers were waving everyone away from the BBQ tents, saying that everything was closed, but some helpful workers directed us around the corner to a lone stand that was still serving. We tipped over strollers and old ladies to join the expanding line, but alas, there was no food left.

Not willing to admit defeat, though, we found a puddle of yelloworange BBQ sauce spread on the street and figured that if we could just get our hands on some half-chewed pork butt, we could work something out:

No? Okay, fine. Instead, we took it as an opportunity to have dinner at Shake Shack, which is a burger institution around these parts. I’d only ever ordered the black and white shake–vanilla ice cream with a hint of hot fudge–in my few visits to the Shack, so I was excited to get my hands on those renowned burgers for the first time.

And they were good, no doubt, in the way that your mom’s burger is good; very freshly-made and very grilled-in-the-backyard with no added spices or marinades. Kamran had the Shackburger, which was lightly smoothed with a layer of sauce that tasted like a very spicy mayonnaise, and I had a plain ol’ cheeseburger with yellow mustard. It was yummy beef to be sure, but it was no ginormous, perfectly-seasoned slab like the one at Cozy Soup ‘n’ Burger, which I’m going to argue is the best burger in New York City until I die.

Our desserts were similarly good. Kamran had a caramel shake that clearly used quality ice cream, and I had the Shack Attack, which was a squat container filled with thick chocolate custard, chocolate-covered cookie dough, chocolate chunks, and chocolate sprinkles. (It supposedly had hot fudge in it, too, but it was either swirled in or nonexistent.) I had a bit of a chocolate overload by the time I was finished and kind of wished that the custard had been vanilla and that the hot fudge had been poured on top of that, but you know, complaining about too much chocolate is ridiculous.

I don’t want to be the lone naysayer when it comes to the place, but I want to give it to you straight–I think Shake Shack gets most of its accolades because it’s cool to like it. Much like Magnolia Bakery, there’s always a massive line outside the Shack, but Magnolia cupcakes really are better than any other cupcake in the city. (Well, at least the icing is.) With Shake Shack, it’s more that it’s in the middle of the the park and affords you the opportunity to eat a decent meal outside without cars whizzing the entire time like they do on the patio of a regular restaurant. Plus, New Yorkers love to talk about how “worth it” long lines are, because waiting around strangely makes things taste better.

I certainly like Shake Shack, and oddly, I think I romanticize the place more than anyone I know. I’m always asking Kamran if we can go there, because even if the food is just good, dessert in the park is great.

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  1. caropal says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I have noticed and appreciated the fact that I can finally see your pictures again. Being able to see you holding two burgers up for a camera(/Kamran/us) makes me work day just THAT much easier.

    • Isn’t that the scariest picture ever of me, though? I guess I should stop making fun of your super-intense photos until I can get my face under control.

      I’m trying to work toward linking all of my photos from my own host rather than Photobucket’s servers. Every time I use Photobucket, I think of you, so thank you for noticing.

  2. Tracey says:

    I had a bit of a chocolate overload by the time I was finished and kind of wished that the custard had been vanilla and that the hot fudge had been poured on top of that, but you know, complaining about too much chocolate is ridiculous.

    I wish you could have seen my face (and therefore my thought process) as I read this sentence. As I read the first half of it, a WTF gasp was underway, and when I finished it, I was nodding knowingly. Because complaining about too much chocolate is ridiculous.



      And yes, yes, they do. The more you say things like this, the more I’m so pumped to get rid of Kamran for you.