Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shake Shack - South Beach

I'm clearly quite late to the Shake Shack party. Indeed, the hubbub started, well, hubbubbing more than half a year ago with the announcement that New York restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer would be opening his first branch outside of NYC on Lincoln Road in South Beach. "It's the best!" "New Yorkers wait in line an hour for their burgers and shakes!" "It'll make you poop rainbows!" The official opening date was yesterday, June 22,[*] and already no less than 17 citizens of Yelpistan have checked in, plus more in Chowsylvania. Why on earth haven't I been there yet?

OK, OK. One ShackBurger, some Cheese Fries, and a "Shark Attack" Concrete, please.

Fortunately, when I got there around 7pm the line was only - well, one person deep. Like I said, everyone's already been there. But the tables all around were mostly full, and there was a steady flow of customers. I got my order after about 10 minutes, which I spent watching 15 or so people mill busily about the open kitchen.

All of Shake Shack's burgers are made with hormone- and antibiotic-free Angus beef. I'd be curious to know whether the Miami branch is getting its beef from NY butcher legend Pat LaFrieda like the NY ones do; doubt it. The "ShackBurger" ($4.75 for a single) features a modestly sized 4-oz. patty topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato and "ShackSauce." If you don't opt for the "ShackBurger," the burger will come entirely unadorned, or with your choice of lettuce, tomato, pickle or onion. For better or worse, there will be no "Stairway to Heaven" burgers topped with foie gras and truffles or "Rock Lobster" burgers with lobster, watercress and tarragon remoulade here.

How was it? After all the hype, frankly, it would have been a disappointment if this burger didn't do a triple axel with a back flip to arrive on my plate, while simultaneously giving me a handjob under the table, and taste like I was eating the very flesh of Kamadhenu, the divine Hindu cow that can grant all wishes.

(continued ...)

So it did not quite meet expectations. It was a good burger: the beef was a nice flavorful grind with good texture, not too dense and not too fluffy, well-seasoned, and cooked - I was somewhat surprised to see - to a perfect medium, with still a hint of pink to the interior. The lettuce and tomato were perky and fresh. The American cheese was American cheese. The bun was an unmemorable but serviceable potato bun which perhaps had been kissed by the griddle in the same way that bartenders wave a bottle of vermouth over the glass to make a very dry martini. The ShackSauce, if it was in fact present, made no impression whatsoever. I enjoyed the burger and could not find any particular fault in it, but I can't tell you it made me see life in a new way.

The crinkle-cut fries in the Cheese Fries ($3.75) were delightfully crispy and I enjoyed them even before learning that they contain 25% less fat than average fries. The cheese sauce was a thoroughly unnecessary and regrettable addition.

Speaking of unnecessary and regrettable additions: here is the "Shark Attack" Concrete (a "concrete" being frozen custard blended with various "mix-ins," here featuring chocolate custard, peanut butter, chocolate truffle cookie dough, Valrhona chocolate pearls and chocolate sprinkles) ($6.75). This was a cold mess, if there could be such a thing. Perhaps I should have anticipated as much upon ordering something with that list of ingredients, but this was just intensely over-sweet, sticky and sloppy. I'm certainly not above a guilty pleasure, but this wasn't pleasurable, just cloying. Next time I will stick with the "ShackMeister Ale," supplied by Brooklyn Brewery.

So: A better than average burger. Good fries. The "Shark Attack" Concrete is not for me. Overall, a good value. I'll certainly go back, if I'm on Lincoln Road and craving a burger. But I can't imagine waiting in line an hour for one.

Shake Shack
1111 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

[*]Soft opening actually started last week.


  1. Forget about the whole waiting thing since thats never going to happen in Miami anyways... Would you go there over Burger & Beer Joint if you were craving a burger?

  2. my cardiologist would prefer i have shake shack's burger due to it's size,but i prefer burger and beer joint's thunder road burger by far.My delightful surprise find at shake shack was their ussinger's (from milwaukee)"2nd city bird dog" using a chicken sage sausage "dragged through the garden".This plus a black and white milkshake, vanilla custard,and arbita root beer from louisiana i personally found their strengths.Stick with the man sized burgers from burger and beer joint.

  3. it baffles me that their vegetarian burger is portobello mushrooms stuffed with 2 kinds of cheese & deep-fried. isn't the point of being a vegetarian to be healthier than carnivores?

    1. Your ignorance baffles me. Yes, some vegetarians eat what they eat to be healthier, but many are such because they are against animal cruelty, or to each their own reason. Vegetarians eat french fries, which are also deep-fried.
      If you want a healthy veggie burger, plant a field of vegetables and make it yourself, or just don't go to Shake Shack.

  4. "Would you go there over Burger & Beer Joint is you were craving a burger?"

    I've only been to B&BJ once and didn't order particularly well, but still enjoyed the burger itself - probably more than Shake Shack's. But on the other hand, B&BJ is nearly twice as expensive as Shake Shack - starting at $9 for a plain 1/2 lb. burger, while you can get a double at the Shack for $5.75.

    They're really very different places: at B&BJ you get sit-down service, you get all sorts of fancy toppings, you have a wide range of sides and other stuff you can get, you've got 100 beers to choose from. At Shake Shack, you order from the counter and can have a burger (with a very limited choice of toppings), dog, fries, custards and concretes.

    I do like that you can get a 4oz. single at Shake Shack and have a burger experience without feeling like a complete glutton - but travlnmike is about twice as tall as me so I can understand why he needs something more substantial.

    Two different styles, and each has its virtues. I'd be more likely to "go to" B&BJ, while I'd likely only "stop by" Shake Shack if I were already there, if that makes any sense.

  5. orchid - people choose vegetarianism for a variety of reasons, health being just one of them. But it would indeed be difficult for a vegetarian to eat healthy off that menu.

  6. Very clever. Great writing. Eventually I will make my way to Shake Shack one day, but not a priority right now. The line about Kamadhenu was an instant classic.

    Excited for Burger & Beer Joint to debut on Brickell. My cholesterol is probably not looking forward to it. Seriously, do i need to order a burger with a fried egg on it?

  7. Absolutely hilarious. Glad you included an explanation for Kamandhenu, for us lowbrow readers.

  8. Frod - that double for $5.75 is a plain hamburger. Add another buck for cheese. A double Shackburger is $7.25 w/o fries. Still not the $9-15 we have seen elsewhere but many of those come w/ fries. The Shackburger is also the way to go if you ask me. The fries made me cheat for a 4th time on my "no fried food in June" quest but they were well worth it, sans cheese sauce.

  9. Jeez Fro!

    Hamburgers, hand jobs and shack sauce - oh My!

    We're not in Kansas anymore. Glad you left the kiddies out of this NSFW review.

    Is Shake Shack Miami's Emperor's New Burger?
    Kind of.
    Late to the Burger Party.
    Small of Patty, Big of Hype.

    Good thing Clara Peller isn't around to comment...


  10. I love your post,
    I read just before ordering at Shake Shak on my iphone , we were looking for parking and I kept reading the post to my husband. Anyways, I was very excited to try this new place.

    Everything you described I completely agreed! nothing out of this world... I ordered the veggie burger because I am vegetarian and the fries with no cheese as of your suggestion,
    and a Key Lime Custard
    The burger-was good ( didn't like the fact that it was deep fried and the amount of cheese it has)
    The fries- Were good
    Custard- We threw it away, extremely sweet ... couldn't swallow it and I have the biggest sweet tooth ever,
    I agreed 100% with your opinions, love your blog <3

  11. AG - This is what happens when I'm left to dine alone. Clara Peller, by the way, was a manicurist, which was the kind of handjob I was talking about. Not sure what you were thinking of.

  12. Fro>

    I am clearly DEPRAVED. I was referring tho the type of HJ that results in a quantity of Shack Sauce...

    BTW - Have you seen the quantity of Shack Sauce issuing forth as a result of Lee Klein's post about Talula?

    I'm just sayin' ...


  13. @AG LOL!

    On the post... Kind of out of line to post something like that. Klein likes to go there though. That's my thoughts anyways.

  14. Shake Shack dominates! It will surely make it to the "best of" Miami New Times edition circa 2011.

  15. Great post. For a moment, I could hear Bourdain telling this story. Thanks for saving me the trip. I'd hate to drive all the way down there to eat an ordinary burger.