NEW YORK CITY
Believe the hype. Said hype, which was reported on before, made the entire staff of AHT twitch with desire. The long lines held us off for only so long, but the staff gave in last week.
The burgers at Shake Shack, like Blue Nine, follow the west-coast style. What really separates them from the pack is their choice of meat. Instead of ground chuck or something similar, they use a mix of sirloin and brisket, which is freshly ground across the street at Danny Meyer's Eleven Madison Park. The unusual choice results in a higher fat content, which produces a fantastically tasty burger. Although it's fun to pile a burger high with condiments, this one can stand alone. My favorite part is that although the burger is juicy, the hot griddle seals it in so the juice gets in your belly and not on your plate.
Having been twice now, I tried both a plain burger and a Shack Burger, which includes their Shake Shack Sauce. The sauce is mayo-based, but the ingredients are secret. It was good, but not an essential part of the experience. I'm more of a mustard guy, anyhow. All of the other condimentslettuce, tomato, bunwere tasty. The bun was very plain, but a perfect compliment for the flavorful burger.
The line is, as expected, long. From my local scouts, the line is still about half an hour during the peak lunch times (12 p.m. to 2 p.m.), but when I've visited at 2:30 p.m., I was ordering in about 10 minutes. When I visited for dinner Shake Shack is now open until 9 p.m. for the rest of the summerI hardly waited at all. Don't worry about grabbing a table right away as there are usually some available and turnover is quick if there aren't.
Shake Shack is an essential part of the NYC burger experience. It is not to be missed.
Location: The southeast corner of Madison Square Park at 23rd St.; New York City
Hours: Daily, 11a.m. to 9 p.m.
What's Cookin': The hamburger. Don't dirty it up the first time you try it. In non-burger land (what's that?), the fries and shakes are also excellent.
Extras: More photos from the Shake Shack trips; Liao Yusheng's shack trip
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