Monday, May 08, 2006

Notable eats... The Shake Shack

A truly superior burger is rare. The Shack (as it is known to regulars), a take-out spot in Madison Square Park, rises above all other burger excellence and somehow offers a new level of satisfaction. What is it about a ground sirloin patty between two toasted potato buns with some lettuce, tomato and onion thrown on for good measure with a dollop of secret sauce that makes it better than all the rest? I haven’t put my finger on that yet, but somehow it makes the competition look silly. Maybe it’s the cooking temperature or the secret sauce or the make of bun. Or that you have to wait in line up to an hour before you get to order (they’re installing a webcam so you can see the wait time before heading down there!). Maybe because the burgers are less than $5. Or that you get to legally (they have a demarcated area) enjoy the burger with a mini-bottle of wine while sitting under the trees in beautiful Madison Square Park. Perhaps it is knowing that the man behind The Shack (Danny Meyer) is the same man behind top New York restaurants The Modern, Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, etc. Whatever it is - the circumstances, the ingredients or both - when you experience a double Shack burger, fries and a vanilla shake here, you move one step closer to epicurean Nirvana.

As if that wasn’t enough, turns out they make ridiculously good Chicago-style hotdogs too. I could go on about that, but enough is enough. Go early (before noon) to avoid the longest lines, or go with a book.

The Shake Shack, Madison Square Park, 23rd St at Madison Avenue.


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