ShackBurger, Shake Shack - Washington D.C, USA

I have had one previous experience at Shake Shack, back in Vegas. I do not recall enjoying it as much as I had anticipated. However, my Vegas escapades was a non-stop gluttonous riot of food consumption, including some of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at.

I had not intended on eating at Shake Shack in Washington D.C. either. It was one of those nights when you find yourself wandering aimlessly in the hope of culinary revelation. Funnily enough, my fiancee had already assumed this would mean we would end up in a burger joint and of course she was right.

Shake Shack is an interesting place, under that category of 'finer fast food', similar to Five Guys. It is pleasantly affordable, but also prides itself on good ingredients whilst also being environmentally friendly. Strangely this chain has not yet broken the UK, like its aforementioned counterpart, only operating in a few locations down south.

The interior felt like a classier but darker McDonalds, with lots of... wood. The ordering process echoed that of Five Guys, though you are issued a buzzer to notify you when your meal is ready. There is something quite reassuring about casual dining with burgers -- it just feels right over table-service.

I ordered the 'ShackBurger' hoping this captured the essence of ShakeShack. This was a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce served on a 'non-GMO potato bun'.

My initial thoughts when collecting the burger was 'shoulda doubled up!' as this is a small meal. I imagine every Shake Shack veteran has just face-palmed reading that, though this likely explains the reasoning behind my prior disappointment in Vegas. Unfortunately, my poor memory of that holiday (no need to explain why I imagine) was unable to guide me here, therefore the single ShackBurger lay before me.

The first bite was interesting. This is how I imagine McDonalds would taste if it was not so highly manufactured. There was a freshness to every bite and a reasonable combination of flavours throughout. With that in mind, it still felt like fast food -- but the kind that perhaps does not have you regretting your life decisions afterwards.

The bun, whilst fresh, was a little bland, but did its job in uniting the components inside, without becoming soggy. Both lettuce and tomato felt balanced on the burger too, whilst the cheese drove that traditional American cheeseburger flavour (funny that). Aside from the meat, the 'ShackSauce' was the strongest element of the meal; a typical but tasty burger sauce with a slight kick (I feel like I've said that before -- and will likely say it again).

On to the meat: 100% all-natural freshly ground Angus beef. This was a tasty patty, despite being on the thin side. The blend of meat vs. fat is perfection and with additional seasoning to enhance flavour, this was a wonderfully tender and succulent patty.

Shake Shack is affordable, whilst retaining good quality in its meals. I enjoyed every element on the burger, though aside from the meat, nothing greatly excelled. The patty, whilst clearly a fantastic blend, was a little too thin, which unfortunately keeps this burger at a level of 'good, but not great'. Still, this is a fast food meal that feels a cut above many other chains and I will be returning -- and most definitely doubling up.

Patty Master Musings:

  • The staff were as a wooden as the interior when dealing with customers, but were clearly having fun between themselves.
  • Cheesy chips were awesome -- fiancee destroyed them. She also had a hot-dog, which looked good. Didn't manage to sample it because she is as relentless as me with food on occasion.
  • I can see why the Shake Shack vs. Five Guys war is often waged. At this point, I would still lean towards Five Guys, but I can see why Shake Shack could take the crown. Perhaps my next visit will change my mind.
  • Did I Dip It? The meat and sauce did enough to prevent dipping, though this was a small burger anyway.

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