I’ve been seeing and hearing (and on some occasions, smelling) great things about the Shake Shack since it opened up in 2004. Best Burger in 2005, according to New York magazine. Lines running out the door (sometimes there isn’t even a door) at all three of their locations. Expansion into Boston, Miami and Kuwait – along with the place where I first heard the virtues of Shake Shack extolled, Citi Field’s Taste of the City.
I hadn’t gotten any Shake Shack grub at the ballpark at my seven games last year (partly because I rarely buy any food at the ballpark – the only fare I had at Citi Field were the Bayside Fries and fried calamari at Catch of the Day that a guy gave me before he left [it gave me heartburn for a day and a half, but it was good] – and partly because of the legendarily, ridiculously long lines), but a Macaulay reception at the Museum of Natural History did give me the opportunity to visit the Upper West Side location of the Shake Shack on Columbus Avenue.
Surprisingly, the lines were fairly manageable – it helped that they had two separate lines, one general line and one for exclusively cold food and merchandise. I ordered the “Shack-Cago Dog”, Danny Meyer’s take on the Chicago hot dog, and a “Concrete,” a dense premium frozen custard mixed with wonderful toppings (think Ben & Jerry’s meets Mister Softee). The “Shack-Cago”‘s sausage, an all-beef frank, was quite juicy and flavorful, but it was simply overpowered by, well, everything else – mustard, relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, and celery salt (but of course, no ketchup!). I’d never had a Chicago-style dog before, and last night I found out that I’m still a New York and Nathan’s kind of guy.
However, the Concrete – a chocolate custard with chocolate truffle cookie dough and hot fudge – was nothing less than a gastronomical triumph. Every sense- from the rich taste and smell of the custard and cookie dough to the texture of slightly mushy, yet still thick, custard with the liquid hot fudge and the solid dough, to of course, brain-freeze – was covered. It was also quite large – enough to leave me on sugar high for the rest of the night, showing it was definitely worth the $6.25 I put down on it.
In the end, the Shake Shack is incredibly high-quality food for a great price, especially considering it’s in prime property in the middle of Manhattan (or Citi Field’s Taste of the City, depending on where you go). This may be the first of a few (although not necessarily many) trips to the Shake Shack – although next time, I think I’ll get a burger with my Concrete instead.
Shake Shack has three locations serving their burgers, hot dogs, fries, and shakes and drinks (and beer and wine, if you’re over 21 and that’s your thing):
- Madison Square Park, near Madison Ave. and East 23rd St., East Side; (212)889-6600; 11 AM – 9 PM,
- 366 Columbus Ave. (on West 77th St.), Upper West Side; (646)747-8770; 10:45 AM – 11 PM;
- and at the Taste of the City concessions pavilion at Citi Field (123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens); 2 hours before game time to the end of the game (it’s an abbreviated menu, and prices are marked up here, ’cause it’s a major league ballpark and the Wilpons need to recoup their losses from Bernie Madoff).
In the meantime, enjoy these pictures I took of my Shake Shack meal and posted to the Random Musings Flickr page: