A Tale of Two Burgers…

Double Shack Burger

One of the most fervent arguments within the food culture of New York City is where to get the best burger. Having for a while, been a self professed amateur of the burger scene, I had decided the only way I could contribute to this argument would be to get out and eat! Having already tried the american classic at the Corner Bistro and the bold roquefort topped burger at the Spotted Pig, I was due for a few more taste tests and the results made everything a bit more clear…

The very nature of the argument is a complicated one. Just like any good experiment, the most important component is a control over variability. So it made me wonder, can we really compare a delicate blend of beef and lamb topped with cheddar cheese to a double American cheese burger with shack sauce? I’d argue not, but either way, I will try my best.

I have long neglected the urge to try what many passionately claim to be the most delicious burger in NYC, the Shake Shack. Maybe I was being stubborn but anytime a lot of hype is combined with a long line, I assume I’ll be disappointed. But I firmly believe that in order to have an opinion that people respect, you have to give it a shot. Cheese Fries at Shake ShackWho am I to make claims on burgers without having tried arguably the most “famous”. So off I went, bracing myself for what was sure to be a 45 minute wait on a warm Friday night. Being able to send someone ahead to the “b” line in order to grab some beers certainly makes this wait more doable; not to mention the great scenery in Madison Square Park, and the constant smell of burgers, custard, and fries. I decided on the double shack burger which is two of their thin beef (sirloin and brisket) patties topped with american cheese, lettuce, tomato, and shack sauce (a seasoned mayo based sauce). We also shared an order of cheese fries!

There is no getting around it. These burgers are certainly of the greasy spoon, or the old fashioned diner variety. A bit on the messy side but packed with a lot of flavor and surprisingly well put together to limit spillage. The American Cheese is a classic standby of this type of burger and goes great in complimented the strong flavor of the beef. The cheese fries were as well delicious, similarly topped with an American Cheese based sauce that wasn’t too thick. The food was good but wow, is it filling. I hit the wall early on, but never like to leave food behind. Despite having really enjoyed the food, I’m not sure how some eat their so often. But then again, this isn’t really my type of burger…

Prune, a restaurant started by Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, has been recognized in the past as an exceptional place for lunch, brunch, and dinner. Her homestyle cooking is at the roots, American and her execution has always been tauted as being extremely impressive . Recently, I had heard rumblings about her cheeseburger and despite the fact its a bit more expensive than my regular lunches, I felt I needed to try it. Her cheeseburger is served with crispy and delicious thin cut french fries and a large steak knife. I wasn’t sure of why the knife was necessary being that the burger was a good size to grab all at once, but I have my own hypothesis. Take that knife, and cut right down the middle and just like I was, I am sure you will be impressed.Burger at Prune The blend of lamb and beef is cooked perfectly, covered with just enough cheddar cheese all packed between a toasted english muffin (one of the best buns you can have) slathered with parsley/scallion butter. The colors are fantastic and the taste is even better. Every component worked with the others in making this burger delicious. Moist but not greasy, flavorful and interesting this burger is definitely one of my favorites.

I’d love to finish this post with some sort of conclusion, as most good research contains but there is no amount of research that will ever resolve this argument (and that’s probably a good thing). Everyone has their own tastes and their own preferences and therefore everyone has their own favorite burger. I guess the comforting thing, is that no matter what type of burger you like, there is bound to be a place in this city that has it!

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One Response to A Tale of Two Burgers…

  1. sam says:

    on point once again, great research. while i continue to stand by the shack burger, i and am eager to try your alternate. sounds and looks terrific. looking forward to burgers and beer this summer.

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