Something I knew I wanted to go for during our trip to New York, was some kick ass American burgers. Even when we were still in Manila, AmbassadOREO Jennifer and I were discussing the places we wanted to eat at. The first thing she yelled out was "Shake Shack!".
Knowing that Shake Shack is one of famous restauranteur Danny Meyer's restaurants, there was no way in hell I was going to say no to that. Admittedly, I was torn between Shack Shake or the popular "Five Guys" Burger.. But once again, the great Anthony Bourdain once again made his presence felt, and turned the tide towards Shake Shack. During our flight to New York, I watched the New York Episode of "Anthony Bourdain: The Layover", and Shake Shack was one of the burger places he visited.
That's all I needed to know.
Shake Shack is probably one of the best food cart success stories ever. From a simple hotdog cart, Shake Shack has grown into a potential global Burger power. Shake Shack now has branches in Five states in the U.S., and two branches in the Middle East.
Inside the Columbus Ave. Branch in New York had a cool industrial feel to it. Cement and brick walls, and simple fixtures made it a relaxed place to enjoy a burger.
I couldn't go to Shake Shack and not order a a shake, right? So I went for their Vanilla shake (US$5.00), and it was magnificent. Forgive me for the picture above, as you clearly can't see the details, but the lighting at the restaurant really wasn't conducive for food photography, but, I guarantee you it was amazing. It had a level of creaminess, without going overly sweet, making one small sip unrealistic. The black dots in the shake made me think that they use Vanilla Bean, but that's just a guess.
In my book, you can't have a burger without French Fries, so naturally we ordered Shake Shack's Cheese Fries (US$3.65). Truthfully, The crinkle cut fries weren't anything truly outstanding, but the Shake Shack Cheese sauce, which was creamy, with a tiny hint of sharpness that complimented the deep fried potatoes.
Rina didn't want anything too heavy, so she ordered Hotdog and had them add Shake Shack Cheese sauce on it (US$3.50). It was a nice, juicy frankfurter, that was cooked just right, with the exterior letting out a bit of a crunch in every bite. The creamy cheese sauce, which was the same sauce used in the fries, totally bathed the frank. The Bread used, was nicely toasted and soft to the bite.
Definitely a very good hotdog sandwich, but.. Just a hotdog sandwich. Honestly, this is notches below Johnsonville's Beddar Cheddar to me.
Jennifer's main goal for going to Shake Shack, was to get their Vegetarian 'Shroom Burger (US$ 6.55). I have an eerie feeling this is the model for Charlie's Grind and Grill's Portabello Mushroom burger. This was a breaded Portabello Mushroom burger, filled with muenster (My favorite cheese) and Cheddar cheese, and deep fried to a dark crisp.
I didn't get to taste it myself, because I had look down for a minute to send out a tweet, and when I looked back up, Jennifer had wolfed it all down.
So I take that as I sign that it was pretty darn good.
Nano ordered the basic ShackBurger (US$4.55), which is a 100% Angus beef patty, Shake Shack Sauce, lettuce, tomato and onions.
I don't think it was a surprise to anyone that my burger was the most bad ass looking burger of them all. I ordered the Smoke Shack, which was a cheeseburger topped with Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon, topped Cherry Peppers, and Shake Shack Sauce.
I didn't know when I'd be going back to New York again, so I decided to go all in, and make it a DOUBLE Smoke Shack (US$8.80), meaning it had TWO Angus Beef Patties.
This was easily one of the best burgers I've ever had in my life. Although they were definitely quite tasty, the next time I go to Shake Shack, I will ask them to remove the cherry peppers, so I can bury my face into the burger a bit more fearlessly. The cherry peppers gave the burger a spicy kick, which I found to be a nice compliment to the meat, however I needed to be careful because of my hyper acidity.
The meat had a delicious smokiness, with the bacon adding a nice touch of savoriness. So THIS is what all the fuss is about. Absolutely amazing.
I am a huge fan of Frozen Custard, and I had heard many great things about Shake Shack's "Concretes". "Concretes" is Shake Shack's dense Frozen Custard blended in high speeds, with various mix ins thrown into it.
I wanted to try all of them, but since I only have finite stomach space (despite what many of you may think), I ordered one.. The "Natural History Crunchstellation" (US$4.25 Half, US$6.50 Regular). The Crunchstellation is filled with Vanilla Custard, Malt, Valrhona Chocolate Crunchies, and chocolate toffee. I also had them add some of Shake Shack's famed Marshmallow sauce ($0.55) for a little added awesome.
With everything mixed into it, you can imagine that yes, it is a sugar bomb. It is quite sweet, but the creamy custard, and all the delicious chocolates mixed in will make you forget what your name is.
If you don't enjoy this, then my name isn't Ricky Zamo-..err.. wait.. Is it Robby? Never mind.. You get what I mean..
(The pink phone is Rina's btw. Defensive.)
There was so much hype going into Shake Shack, it was inevitable that my expectations were going to be very high. Thankfully, those expectations were met, with flying colors. The next time I go to the United States, I'll have Five Guys on my cross hairs, however, I wouldn't mind going back to Shake Shack to try the ShackStack and the other concretes!
SHAKING UP THE 'SHACK
Oreo's Nano Betita, our host for the evening Mikel (Thanks bro!) AmbassadOREO Jennifer, and me
The crew of Shake Shake Upper West Side is Awesome!
I really regret not buying any of the Shake Shack merchandise!
SHAKE SHACK MENU