In the past few months, I have developed a slight obsession with milkshakes. I am home in New York visiting my parents for the weekend, and when in NY, Shake Shack is undoubtedly the place to go for milkshakes. There’s no shortage of notoriety surrounding Shake Shack, and for good reason. Their menu is simple, burgers, fries, shakes, and custards. In the summer, ordering your food and sitting at one of the metal tables in the park makes for pleasantly laid-back dinner. The line to order, which can take over an hour at peak meal times, might not qualify as laid back. But it’s really no different than going to a popular restaurant that does not take reservations. You go for the experience, and you go expecting a wait.
For my shack dinner, I enjoyed a tasty duo of fries and a concrete. Dave and his friend Jon, my dinner companions, both got the double shack burger, which is a freshly ground Black Angus burger served with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce. As I did not try the burger, I will provide you with their expert evaluation: the meat was good and the ShackSauce flavored the burger nicely. They don’t skimp on the sauce, as Dave put it, they give you the wrapper for a reason. It could have used more lettuce for more crispness and crunch. The better-quality-fast-food burger is what they do, and all in all, they do it well. I’d say the same for the fries. Crinkle cut are not my favorite, as they are reminiscent of cafeterias and bagged frozen french fries, but they are an apt accompaniment to a greasy burger, or a thick milkshake.
For those who are curious, Shake Shack does offer a meatless burger. The ‘Shroom Burger contains a fried portobello filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheese in place of the beef. I tried this last time and found it far too heavy and greasy with very little flavor. I’ll stick to fries and a milkshake.
Concretes are made of dense frozen custard blended with Shack mix-ins. You can choose from three to four established combinations, or make your own selecting a custard flavor and your preferred mix-ins. Concrete number one tonight was a special that we got last time as well, the Standing Order, which is vanilla custard blended with fresh strawberries and orange-poppy seed caramel. Where they came up with this combination, I have no idea, but it is phenomenal. The strawberry chunks are firm and juicy. The orange flavor permeates the custard and the caramel sauce is streaked throughout. A portion of the proceeds from this concrete support Madison Sq. Art: Event Horizon, a program organized by Madison Square Park Conservancy.
The second concrete we got was the Hopscotch: vanilla custard , hot caramel sauce, chocolate toffee, and Valrhona chocolate chunks. It was fun, but not superior to the Standing Order. I had two complaints about the Hopscotch, firstly, they were too liberal with the caramel sauce and it made the custard overly sweet. I would have preferred that the vanilla flavor of the custard itself come through more. Secondly, the chunks of toffee and chocolate, as you can see in the photo, were way too big. The combination of the two chocolates went nicely with the caramel sauce, but I wish the chocolate had been blended more. I ended up just picking the toffee pieces out and eating them separately.
Next on my list of things to try from Shake Shack is the frozen custard on its own. Custard is available in vanilla, chocolate, and a rotating flavor of the day. These offerings change every month. For July, the flavors are Monday: Strawberry Pistachio; Tuesday: Sweet Corn; Wednesday: Boston Cream Pie; Thursday: Plum Crumb; Friday: Mud Pie; Saturday: Blueberry; Sunday: Peaches and Cream. I’m particularly excited to try Sweet Corn. Check out the full Shake Shack menu on their website, where you can also view the Shack Cam, a real-time moving image of the area outside Shake Shack so you can see just how long the line is when you want to go.
11 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010