A Year In Food

From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out

Monday, May 09, 2005

May. 9.


Shake Shack - Madison Square Park, Gramercy Park
Double Shack Burger; Concreation with Vahlrona Chocolate Chunks, Chocolate Truffle Cookie Dough, and Salted Peanuts

As promised, I made my third visit (see May 3, Apr. 10) to Shake Shack in less than a month. This was my second nighttime visit, and the unseasonally chilly weather persuaded me that the Shack was a more pleasant experience when the sun was shining. Surprisingly, I even missed the crowd, complete with precocious kids and omnipresent dogs, that made ordering such an ordeal. It still beat the alternative of a desolate park.

Still, I wasn’t here for the scenery. It was all about the burger plain and simple. Again, I refused to branch out, insisting on my Double Shack. No surprise, it was just as good as on my previous visits, all of the elements combining and working together beautifully. The Shack Sauce was a tangy, vaguely mustard-y condiment that distinguished the burger. The tomato and lettuce brought the vitamins and the crunch. The melted cheese smothering the meat was mouthwatering. But of course, best of all was the beef. I’ve already clogged up enough of the Internet doting on it, but not to leave any doubt, let me reiterate that this is my favorite burger in the city.

As I predicted last time, I also experienced my first taste of that St. Louis perennial, the concrete. I went for the Concreation, which lets you design your own combination from a long and fun list of toppings including cheesecake brownies, seasonal fruit, and coconut macaroons. Still, I somehow managed to skip over all of those in favor of Vahlrona chocolate chunks, chocolate truffle cookie dough, and salted peanuts to go with my vanilla custard. The concrete that resulted was very good, with the peanuts and cookie dough especially being inspired choices. I didn’t like the chocolate chunks, which were too big and hard, disruptive icebergs in the sea of custard. And in the end, I wasn’t as wowed by the dessert as I’d hoped to be. I was probably expecting too much.

Nonetheless, it’s a rare event that I feel compelled to visit any restaurants three times in four weeks, so Shake Shack’s excellent is evident. Ideally, their desserts could be improved to be as transcendent as their beef, but that would be a very tall order. And since I haven’t yet tried the sundae, I’ve just come up with another excuse to go back. 7/10

A review by Liao Yusheng from April


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