The weather in New York in December was the coldest I'd ever experienced without it snowing. I was completely unprepared for it, even though I'd been warned - I guess I'm just too used to Australia's temperate climes.
We stumbled upon Shake Shack as we were trying to make it from our hotel to Restaurant Row in Hell's Kitchen; we made it halfway, but it was just too damned cold to walk that far at night, so we joined the line going out the door to Shake Shack.
The Theatre District branch of Shake Shack was created in 2010 from sustainably sourced and reclaimed materials, and features a huge wall of windows through which we watched and experienced our first night in New York. The service was fast and efficient, which was necessary considering how many people pass through every day, and despite the high turnover, the tables were spick and span. I ordered while Stephen stalked people for their tables, then we tucked in.
Shake Shack take particular care to make sure their fries are super-crunchy by using only Yukon Gold potatoes and using the classic crinkle-cut. They're also free of any trans-fat, so I felt a little more comfortable munching away on these golden beauties. Mustard and ketchup (lol, ketchup) were free, and made an excellent dipping sauce mixed together.
This dog is a tribute to the Chicago dog, featuring a juicy Vienna beef dog that has been split open and grilled, then topped with hot mustard, tangy relish, raw onion, pickle, cucumber, plum tomato and celery salt. The bun was grilled as well, leaving it crispy on the inside and soft and squishy on the outside.
I was particularly looking forward to trying their burgers, as the meat is 100% Angus beef, ground fresh and prepared every day in New York, and cooked medium. We ordered the ShackBurger for a little greenery. Now, imagine two of the juiciest, most flavoursome patties you've ever had, topped with American cheese, thick slices fresh tomato and lettuce, and finished with a slick of mayo-based Shack Sauce. Good god I want another!
The shakes are made with "frozen custard", a blend of soft serve and premium ice cream, and are so thick I thick a spoon would have been of more use than a straw. Stephen's chocolate was strong in flavour and subtly malted, whereas my shake was a peanut butter punch in the mouth (not a bad thing!), and so filling I couldn't finish half of it.
I've come to love Shake Shack, and will definitely visit again when next we go to New York (and trust me, there WILL be a next time, even if I freeze my arse off again). It's easily one of the best burger spots that I tried in my time there, and I highly recommend going if there happens to be one nearby in your travels.
691 8th Avenue
Southwest Cnr 8th Ave & 44th St
New York, NY