I have always wanted to try Shake Shack but the lines were always too long. I guess the key is going on a frigid winter day. I grew up in St Louis so the style is not new to me but I always thought Steak and Shake makes the best flat style burger in the country(so much better than In n Out) and I wanted to see what an ex pat could do as an homage. I walked right up to the order window and downed a double shack on my way to my fifth bar of the afternoon. Damn that was good. The patties were little thicker than Steak N Shake, but the bun was great, excellent tomatoes(tomatoes suck in California except summer) and the dressing was a nice touch. All in all a great flat, griddle burger.
About 45 minutes later I found myself at Resto, a place I had dined at over the summer and loved. Great beers, and tons of rich and tasty meat dishes. I had read about the burger there and after consulting with bartender that I had just had shake shack, he assured me that ordering the burger would be a wise move. And in a way, it was. Because I will never order it again.
The first warning sign was that the burger was not cooked to order. He said something about it having pork in it, but I thought; "hey, I sure these guys know what they are doing, I have eaten braised beef cheeks here, it cant be dry".
The second warning sign was when it arrived. It was small. The Shake Shack burger was bigger and that was 8 bucks, not 16. And the bartender said "this is a dinner burger". It was a flat hockey puck.
Third warning sign was the bun. A plain, white bun. A cheap bun. Come on, really? This was supposed to be the "best burger" in NYC? I was dying for a instant transport to Corner Bistro at this point.
So now I had to eat it. It was rich but a little dry. Had a great aioli and stuck with a simple pickle and onion topping but ultimately comes off unadorned. It was a disappointment.
I know that Shake Shack gets more than its fair share of time on this board but coming from the city where it takes its inspiration, its a fine example of a flat stack, midwest burger and an excellent addition the NYC burger scene. Resto was a dud. Visiting from LA where there a number of very good gourmet burgers, Resto was just lackluster. Maybe I should have ordered one at PJ Clarks.
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