The Shake Shack, which opened two years ago in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, is an unassuming outdoor hamburger and hot dog stand, or roadside stand, as the owners call it. It has all the usual suspects hamburgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, fries etc. The only indication it's the latest baby of restaurateur Danny Meyer is the excellent ingredients and some very clever twists. (Okay, and the long lines, but they move quickly, so don't let that discourage you.
If Meyer's instructions to his chef /staff at the Shake Shack was "I want the food to taste like I remember it from my childhood" then the assignment was a big success. The hamburgers are fabulous, grilled to order and endearingly misshapen to signal that the meat is not commercial stuff.
The single cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato on a soft bun is my favorite. The Chicago-style hot dog was fine, but after eating grass fed hot dogs, I can't go back. The French fries were fried in good oil and crisp. The vanilla milkshake was so smooth and creamy and the "Arnold Palmer," a classic drink of half ice tea and half lemonade was incredibly refreshing. There are great beers on draft and fabulous wines by the glass ( or I should say disposable cup) and even splits of Billecart-Salmon champagne-hey you never know, when someone might want to propose. As in all of Meyer's restaurants, the service is excellent. Everyone is patient and helpful.
As pleasant as the Shake Shack is, the delicious food drives home the changes in how food is grown and produced in this country, especially our meat. The flavors at the Shack evoke memories of how fast food tasted before it became a multi-billion dollar industry. All restaurateurs ought to serve one or two dishes that make a statement, even something as simple as a grass fed hot dog. You might get some quibblers, but many people would support it and love it. (They do in California). More important, it's a beginning to help educate people. So, Danny, why not have the first grass fed hot dog available in New York at the best stand in New York City?
Shake Shack_Madison Square Park_NYC_212.889.6600_open daily 11am — 11pm