Today’s post comes from the Baron’s foremost correspondent, my friend Jeff. Several weeks back, he brought us a NYC review from the venerable Little Owl. Today, we will read a review of the “In-n-Out” of the East Coast, Shake Shack. Readers of this blog know the level at which I place In-n-Out (the finest fast food burger in all the land), so read on to see why this post might be Baron heresy…here’s Jeff:
A day after consuming the greatest cheeseburger I have ever had, I was on the prowl for more great burgers and more Pat Lefrieda beef… and I knew just where to find it. Shake Shack.
For those of you who know me and know the Baron, you know that we absolutely love California. It is our home away from home, we have traveled out there together for work and fun extensively, and hope to one day retire there with our two lovely wives. One of the greatest things about California is the In-N-Out Double Double. The perfect fast food. I have so many fond memories surrounding INO, and I am obsessed with it. I once drove 600 miles out of the way on the way home from a wedding JUST for INO (the Baron once drove 1,500 miles for it). Needless to say, I love INO. Along with Chipotle it is one of my two favorite restaurants and always will be. With all of that said, the next few paragraphs might shock some of you…
Shake Shack is the NYC version of INO. It’s similar in that it’s a GREAT fast food type burger, it has a cult following, and there is always a line. When my pal John and I went to the original location in Madison Square Park there were an estimated 150 people in line. We waited for about 40 minutes to get up to the window and order. I went with the Double Shack burger, fries, and a small peanut butter shake. I am guessing about 1,800 calories for those of you counting at home (I know my registered dietitian of a wife is).
We waited another 10 minutes to get our food and we found a nice table in the shade. Here is where it gets cray: After the first bite, I knew it was no contest. SHAKE SHACK MAKES A BETTER BURGER THAN IN-N-OUT. Now, I still love INO more, and always will because of all that goes with it. But burger to burger it isn’t close. In each burger category (bun, beef, cheese, toppings, sauce, overall) Shake Shack is superior. I feel sacrilegious saying it, but I can’t deny the truth. INO will always be my first love (I feel the need to keep repeating that phrase to convince everyone I am not out on In-n-Out).
I won’t go into great detail about the logistics of the burger, but just know a few things:
- PLF (Pat LaFreida) beef
- Top quality produce. Really bright colored tomatoes and lettuce makes it ascetically pleasing
- Sauce is a little tangier than INO (similar to Larkburger in Denver)
- Great potato bun from the famous Martin’s
- Cheese = american
- Fries are crinkle cut and cooked well, but nothing to write home about.
- You can buy half bottles of Stag’s Leap Cabernet (one of my all time favorites) which is pretty sweet for a fast food joint
The weather was super muggy and the line was a little long, although the SS waitstaff served everyone in line some ice water. However, the wait was definitely worth it. I had SS once before in ’11 and thought it was great, but this trip I found Danny Meyer’s beef/cheese/bun combo to be downright amazing. It wasn’t a big jump from where it was before but this weekend, Shake Shake weaseled it’s way into my top 5 burgers off all time. Holding strong at #4.
Two days, two top 5 burgers. Kudos NYC, Kudos.