Monday, August 8, 2011
Shake Shack at the Track
I finally got to the Shake Shack up at the Track (Saratoga) the other day. I avoid NYC like the plague, so I have never actually had a Shack Burger before. People make much of the place (it has a Shack Cam to monitor the line at one of the NYC locations) and it supposedly has a burger mystique a la In and Out burger or any of the other usual suspects from the line up of storied burger chains. I am always a little suspicious of people's claims about the ethereal quality of some joint's burgers (except White Castle because those claims are actually true), so I didn't build up too much anticipation.
My compatriots and I ordered up a bunch of "Shack Burgers" and some fries. It was very, very hot on that day so I decided to not dump a milk based beverage down my already alcohol soaked gullet. Trying one of their shakes will have to wait for another occasion. The burgers are about 5 bucks, I can't remember (reference previous comment regarding alcohol consumption). They come in wax paper which I like. I have a thing for wax paper, ask the wife. If I am making her a sandwich for work or something, then it is getting wrapped in wax paper (Saran Wrap be damned, I hate you).
The Shack burgers are comprised of a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, and "Shack Sauce."
Not bad, not bad. The bun was OK I think, nothing stands out in my booze addled memory so it couldn't have been especially spectacular. The lettuce was fresh and the thick sliced tomato was nice. I kind of liked the Shack Sauce too. It was a fairly thin, Mayo based concoction with a hint of sour and a bit of a spicy kick. It definitely wasn't just lame Thousand Island dressing. I am thinking mayo with vinegar (maybe lemon juice) and some cayenne, would have to research it more.
The burger patty itself stood out the most, as well it should I guess. The thing had an absolutely wonderful crusty sort of texture. The patty was almost crispy, a perfect example of a griddle burger. Burgers are a textural experience in my mind, and this one was fairly harmonious. Thoroughly enjoyable. I would not wait in line for hours for one, but there isn't really much in this world that I would wait in line for (except maybe if I was asked to by Giblet or Mrs. Dave) so I wouldn't view this as disparaging towards the Shack product. These are very good burgers, on par or maybe a bit better then a Five Guys.
Also of note is that Shake Shack serves crinkle cut french fries. I am somewhat of a crinkle cut french fry maniac so I was pleased to discover this. Here is a specimen.
I was not overly impressed with the fries. My Platonic ideal of an order of crinkle cut french fries comes from Jack's Diner on Central, in a grease speckled paper bag (to go), circa 1988, with my Dad. Those bad boys used to be something to behold, a miracle of crispness mixed with a pleasing, greasy sogginess. Shake Shack's fries cannot compare. They were almost too crispy if that makes any sense, a little fake-y if you will. I heard no complaints from the rest of rowdy crew, so they weren't necessarily bad. I am just being picky.
So yeah, verdict is that Shake Shack is pretty good. Not really destination food in my book, but if I am in the neighborhood and the line is short, then I am probably going to get a Shack Burger. Mrs. Dave really liked them too and she is a pretty tough customer.