While in New York I met up with Tien for my first Shake Shack experience. I think Shake Shack opened just after I moved from New York to Chicago and I haven’t been able to try it on any of my visits back, so I was happy to finally get the chance to see what all the talk is about. We met up at the Battery Park location. I asked Tien what the “standard” order was, I wanted to try just the basic, and not base my judgement off something crazy. I ended up with the ShackBurger (single patty with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce) and a frozen custard chocolate shake.
I liked Shake Shack. I liked it better than Five Guys, which I just tried a few weeks ago. It could be something to do with the way I ordered, though. I didn’t realize that a double was the standard order at Five Guys. If I was to go there again, I’d make sure to get just a single. Also, I had WAYYY too many toppings. It was so hard to eat and way too much. I did really like the fries at Five Guys, though. Tien and I shared fries at Shake Shack. They were good, but they don’t really stand out in my mind the way that the Five Guys fries do.
And then there’s In-N-Out. The holy grail. It’s hard for me to say if I liked my burger at Shake Shack more. I definitely remember a certain char that I liked on the Shake Shack burger, but I think I’d have to give this one to In-N-Out. Maybe its a nostalgia thing, me reminiscing about my days living in California, but I think I like In-N-Out better. I think the toppings are more fresh. I think In-N-Out uses iceberg? Maybe that’s it?
I must note that my burger at Shake Shack was totally under cooked. So much that I brought it back. I thought it was going to be a long wait, because there was a line out the door and they use a buzzer system, but they plucked a new burger out of the kitchen for me in about 30 seconds. I won’t hold this against them, though. It’s almost to their benefit and shows how great of service they have. The employees in the dining room were very helpful and friendly too. And speaking of the dining room, or the general ambiance of the place, I’d say that Shake Shack does win this. The space was beautiful and modern with lots of glass, metal and dark wood. It did not feel like you were in a fast food chain, which is totally the feeling of In-N-Out and Five Guys.
Anyway, I do not eat burgers that often at all, so this was a great treat for me. Also, Battery Park City? What’s up? Everything down there is brand new and there seem to be a ton of young families living there. Tien went to high school very nearby where we were eating and on the walk to the subway he pointed out all the new things. Aside from a building or two, everything is new. He said that back when he was in school it wasn’t anything…. empty lots. Crazy to think about.