This is the burger post.
Shake Shack @ Madison Square Park
First and foremost: I <3 Shake Shack. Even though we’ve never tried it before this trip, the first thing we did after dumping our luggage in the hotel was to go to Madison Park and queue for 50 minutes for our burger. Worth every single second. We then ate it again and again; in fact, our last meal in NYC was Shake Shack, again at Madison Park.
Shake Shack @ Theatre District
“ShackBurger”. I had their double ShackBurger with pickles (strangely not included into the burgers by default, so make sure you ask for it if you’re a sweet pickle fan) and it was absolute love at first sight. The bun is made from potato, and feels slightly softer and sweeter compared to a normal one. The beef is made from Black Angus and is just the right level of beefiness. The cheese is that weirdly-addictive-and-just-right-for-a-burger American cheese. Altogether it was a little bit greasy, but again at just the right amount to make consumption great but not leaving the user feeling all bloated and fatty later.
Double shackburger, cheese fries, frozen custard (Boston cream pie).
It was like eating a grown up Big Mac who went to college and learnt how to be a proper burger.
“Shack Stack”. This is a combo of their cheeseburger and vegetarian mushroom option and totals up into a behemoth. The mushroom bit was a Portobello mushroom stuffed with muenster and cheddar cheese, then deep fried with batter around it. I felt the mushroom was nearly non-existent as it was quite lost in the sea of cheese around it but I loved the extra crunchiness you get from the deep fried batter.
The shack stack
“Cheese Fries”. Lately I’ve been enjoying the crinkly fries more as I think the extra layers they throw up make them crunchier. The PigPig however went berserk at the cheese topping, a sauce made from cheddar and American cheese, and proclaimed this to be the best cheesy fries ever!
Out of curiosity, I tried the draft ShackMeister Ale, brewed in Brooklyn itself. It was actually surprising good even though it came in a plastic cup. Quite light, it was very quaffable with a fair amount of fruitiness to it. We also tried their Arnold Palmer, a very refreshing mix of lemonade and iced tea.
Shake Shack @ Theatre District - double shackburger, shackmeister ale, frozen custard (banana bread)
As if it wasn’t enough they served awesome burgers and beer, they also serve ice cream! Called Frozen Custard, it’s supposed to be a blend of soft scoop and premium ice cream. You can get it in various forms, such as eating it on itself, having a sundae, milkshakes, or as Concretes which we’ll get to in a minute.
We also tried the New York dog, which pales in comparison to the burgers.
The ice cream flavours are usually just vanilla, chocolate and a flavour of the day which changes on a monthly basis. So in June we tried Black Raspberry, Banana Bread and Boston Cream Pie, all pretty good, and quite light on the sweetness.
The concrete jungle
The Concretes are basically their frozen custard ice cream blended and mixed in with various toppings so it’s a bit like a sundae but with stuff inside the ice cream too. Each outlet (five in NYC) has different flavours and the one we tried in Madison Park was “The Concrete Jungle” made with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, peanut butter and banana.
Moving away from Shake Shack, the next two burgers are in the “posh burger” category.
On a hot summer’s day, Minetta Tavern is almost like an oasis, albeit of the French bistro type. While getting a table without a reservation is tough, we were seated at the bar promptly and did what everybody recommends: get the burger, no, not the normal burger, get the “Black Label Burger”.
At $26 it is pricy, but you’re getting a “selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts”. Prime grade beef is used and sourced from Creekstone Farms, Kentucky. Here, it's all about the beef. Truthfully, it was a fantastic beef patty as well, wonderfully juicy, succulent, beefy with a fair amount of fats but not a hint of gristle. Arguably a masterstroke is ditching the greens by leaving it on the side of the plate and replacing it with some caramelised onions instead, adding a slight sweetish tinge to it. My only complaint is that the sheer juiciness of the patty makes the brioche burger bun at the bottom a soggy mess.
Last but not least was another highly recommended burger at Prune. The little café-like place looks like it belongs in the 80s with the faded wall colours and the paint ever so slightly peeling off. The “Grilled Hamburger on and English Muffin with Cheddar Cheese” was slightly off-kilter compared to a standard burger but it surprisingly worked. The patty itself was pretty good, although not as luxurious as Minetta’s. The obvious difference here is the bun, or muffin in fact. While I may not have liked the idea of using an English muffin, the muffin was toasted up crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, the extra chewiness to it was actually quite nice. The garlic and herb butter spread made it seem like garlic bread too which is always a bonus.
I know what you’re craving for now and it’s in New York.
Southeast corner of Madison Square Park,
near Madison Ave and East 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010
Midtown West (Theatre district)
691 8th Ave, Southwest corner of 8th Ave & 44th St.
New York, NY 10036
Other branches available.
113 Macdougal St
New York, NY 10012
54 E 1st St
New York, NY 10003