New York City- The city that never sleeps, literally. There are people crawling the streets at all hours of the day and night. It’s a busy city with busy people. My visit was no exception. I explored as much of the Big Apple as I could in the short time I was there. Food was almost a secondary thought to me. Between the cheap pizza, street food, and high end restaurants, there is no shortage of options in New York.
Late Friday night I was exploring Midtown with my friend Bernardo. Bernardo is from Colombia and this was his first visit to the United States. We spent a few hours taking in some iconic art at the Museum of Modern Art before walking up to Times Square. After trudging through the crowds of Times Square we were hungry. Most of the restaurants around that area are very commercial and overpriced so we walked a few blocks down to find something else.
As we approached the corner of 8th Ave and West 44th St, I saw the beautiful lights of Shake Shack. I had heard of Shake Shack previously, but have never seen one; And if there’s one to see it’s this one. The big bright lights are reminiscent of Las Vegas. It was busy and inviting all at the same time.
We looked over the menu and went inside to order. There was an usher at the door telling us to keep the line moving. My question was: Where? This place was packed! Burger lovers convened here and I was starting to see why. Rather, smell why. The thick aroma of freshly seared beef and hot fries filled the air. It was a wonderful departure from the cold, and sometimes stinky, air of the city.
I stepped up to the counter and ordered a double shack burger with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce, cheesy fries, and a Coke. Bernardo, who I didn’t realize was vegetarian, ordered a fried portobello mushroom burger.
This is normally the part of my review where I say, “We took our seat and waited for our food.” But, this is New York City. There was no way there could ever be enough seats for the volume of people who visit this restaurant. Bernardo and I acted as eagles, dodging in and out of the crowd to find newly opened seats. And eventually we did. Our food was ready after about 10 minutes.
The burger was wonderfully crafted. The bright color of the tomato and lettuce indicated its freshness. The burger sent steam right up through the cheese, creating a gooey masterpiece. The fries were piping hot and smelled delicious. I took my first bite and was amazed at how well the meat was put together. It had a fantastic fluffiness, giving the beef room to breathe. It was cooked to a perfect medium-well (my favorite). The ShackSauce went mostly unnoticed to me as the beef and cheese are the powerhouse of this burger.
Bernardo was having a similar experience with his ‘shroom burger. In his best English he could muster up he said it was wonderful. And from what I could see, it looked like a decent sized mushroom cap, breaded and deep fried to a golden crisp. If I was a mushroom fan I would have dug right in.
The fries were thin, crispy, hot, and salted and covered in melted cheese. Perfection achieved.
The menu at Shake Shack is huge. There is definitely something for everyone. If you are in New York City and are looking for a good, moderately priced burger, head to Shake Shack. You won’t regret it.
691 8th Ave
New York, NY 10036