Madison Square Park (10 Madison Avenue) New York, NY 10010
Adventures of a Hopeless Foodie Rating: 4.5/5
My boyfriend and I always have the same argument every time he comes to visit me in NYC. He always tells me how much better Bareburger is than Shake Shack. And I always tell him how wrong he is. I guess we’ll never be able to come to a decisive conclusion; we’re just too set in our ways (even though I took him to both restaurants, so I feel like my opinion should weigh a little more). Both are chains with several locations around the city, and although I do love the fact that I can order an Ostrich burger, along with several other kinds of nontraditional patties, I can’t get over Shake Shack’s amazing resemblance to In-and-Out Burger; a slightly inferior and much pricier version of the west coast classic. As the very first place I went to when I was alone in the big apple, it holds a special place in my heart.
I still can’t visit Madison Square Park by itself. As soon as I walk in I see the Shake Shack, and I feel like if I’ve already walked all the way there, I might as well stop at get a burger (well, it’s literally 3 blocks over, but I really can’t resist the Shack). When you visit the Shake Shack, you’ll immediately spot their little hut in the southeast corner of the park. Then you’ll notice the huge line stretching all the way to the southwest corner of the park. Now, the last time I went it took me half an hour to get to the front of the line, and then ten to fifteen minutes to get my food. That can be a really long wait. When I went, I was absolutely starving, and it was torture. If you really want to try the Shake Shack for the first time but don’t feel the need to visit its iconic Madison Square Park location, I urge you to head on up to Times Square. Despite being in one of the busiest neighborhoods in Manhattan, it only takes about ten minutes to order, and five to ten minutes to get your food. It’ll cut the time it takes you to get your food in half, and you can enjoy the theatrical SHAKE SHACK lights sitting above the building. However, if you want to find a seat, you’re more than likely going to be out of luck. The one good thing about the Madison Square Park location is that even when there are no seats available, you can always sit on a bench in the park. Not to mention the canopy lights outside look magical at night. Just don’t go at lunch hour, or you’re likely to be waiting for over an hour, and that’s just to place your order.
I seriously think it’s amazing. The patty is juicy. The bun is a perfect texture and just the right size so you aren’t getting a “bread sandwich” (as my mom would say), but it has plenty of coverage for the patty. The special “shack” sauce is absolute heaven, and the cheese melts into the patty so well you can’t tell where the cheese starts and the patty begins. And the lettuce and tomatoes are perfectly fresh, but not so abundant that they get in the way. Yes, this is the way burgers should be. It tastes perfectly fresh without being bogged down with grease. I did a burger taste test with my dorm, and not one even came close to this burger’s quality. If you’ve seen the HIMYM episode “The Best Burger in New York” and watch the way Marshall describes the amazing burger, that’s pretty much how I feel about the Shake Shack. And I haven’t even gotten to the fries. Oh my god. I know I said Pommes Frites were some of the best fries you’ll ever have, but these truly stand on the same level. They’re perfectly seasoned with some kind of special seasoning, and they’re slightly crunchy to add a bit of texture but not so much that they taste overcooked and burnt. I can never stop myself from finishing off the entire thing. If I had to choose just one, I honestly think I’d choose the fries. Now, I have to say, I’ve had their shakes before, and I’m really not that impressed by the chocolate, although the vanilla is actually pretty amazing. And the few custard flavors that I’ve had are really delicious as well, and definitely had a unique taste. Now, I’ve heard from many people that the quality of the burger waivers from time to time, but I can say that I’ve never had a bad experience. My suggestion is to head on over to Times Square, because you’re more likely to feel like the wait was worth your time than if you have to wait for over an hour. Even when I waited that long the very first time I went, I remember being less impressed, but I’m just about positive it tasted exactly the same. However, I’m not going to deny that In-and-Out burger has mastered the perfect burger, although I do think that Shake Shack doesn’t leave you feeling as greasy. Not to mention that the cost of a burger at In-and-Out is only around $2, or $3 if you want to make it a double. Shake Shack’s iconic ShackBurger starts at $4.55 for a single, and rises to a whopping $7.10 for a double. The cheapest burger, a hamburger, is still about 50 cents more than the most expensive In-and-Out burger. However, the fries are only about a dollar more at Shake Shack, at $2.65, and they are definitely superior to In-and-Out. On a final note, I think that a place called “The SHAKE Shack” should have better milkshakes. Not that they’re bad, but they certainly aren’t the best shakes I’ve ever had, and I rarely ever order them. Because of this inconsistency with the very name of the chain and the fact that they cost twice as much for something that tastes even better, I can’t give them a perfect score. However, I honestly believe they are without a doubt the best burgers in NYC.
Until next time, eat up!