We live in an era of unintentional exaggeration and hyperbole. A movie can’t just be bad; it has to be “the worst movie ever filmed.” A TV season can’t just be disappointing; people have to proclaim it to be “a travesty that destroys the entire series.” It’s not just for negative proclamation, however. This kind of overstatement can be used for positive statements, also. A burger can’t just be good, it has to be “the best burger in the world.”
The problem with these kinds of statements that it can lead to stunned confusion when you do try out what they’re talking about. It can be hard to take these kinds of statements seriously because of how inflated the reactions is. Which is why I decided to close out this year’s Burger Month with probably the most hyped burger joint that recently opened in the Philippines: Shake Shack.
Well, that’s not the only reason why I wanted to make Shake Shack my last entry to this year’s Burger Month. I was actually rather reluctant to try it but not for the reasons you may think. I am already familiar with Shake Shack’s reputation in the United States and all of the glowing accolades its received so I was initially eager to try one of their burgers.
Unfortunately, Shake Shack just recently opened in one location in the Philippines and it’s in Bonifacio High Street, specifically Central Square. And I just don’t like going to Bonifacio High Street AKA BGC. As someone who uses public transportation most of the time, BGC can be difficult to get to because of the traffic and the rather lack of direct routes to get there. There really isn’t a good way to get there from my place so I have to plan my day way ahead of time if I do have to go to BGC.
Also, I was warned by my friends that, ever since Shake Shack opened up, the lines have been crazy long! I heard, during the opening day, some people had to wait for two to three hours! I’m not waiting that long! So I bided my time and waited for the end of May, a whole three weeks from its opening day with the hopes the lines have subsided by then. I was in luck because the line wasn’t that long when I did get to Shake Shack. I only had to wait around 30 minutes.
I do have to comment on the waiting time. Since there are still a lot of people that want to join the Shake Shack hype, part of the experience is the wait, isn’t it? The Shake Shack staff were attentive and friendly. They gave me and the other patrons in line a menu so we can decide before we got to the counter. Unfortunately, there were probably three groups of people who, even after waiting in line with menus, couldn’t figure out what they wanted when it was their turn! I don’t blame Shake Shack for these jerks because they were too busy taking selfies and posting on Facebook and Twitter like “OMG! I’m at Shake Shack line! #dontcareaboutthefood #justherebecauseitspopular #makingotherpeoplejealous #pleaselikemypost” or something along those lines. Hate those people.
When I did get to the front of the line, I promptly gave my order because I used the wait in line to pick what I wanted which was a Double Shakeburger with a side of Cheesy Fries and a Black & White Milkshake. I didn’t know what a Black & White Milkshake so I asked one of the staff what it was while I was in line and not wait at the counter. Anyway, I managed to snag a seat and waited for my order. After 10 minutes, I got my Double Shackburger with Cheesy Fries and Black & White Milkshake.
The Double Shackburger itself was, honestly, much better than I expected. Whenever I hear that something is the “ultimate” like how many people call Shake Shack’s burgers, I generally doubt what they’re saying because it sounds like they’re trying to elevate something instead of giving a more grounded opinion. I generally believe that people just bite into the hype too much and that colors their opinion. Which is why I was generally surprised that the Double Shackburger was genuinely good!
Both beef patties of the Double Shackburger was really juicy. Lots of flavor with each bite and perfectly cooked to a medium doneness. I do wish that the meat was just a little bit charred for more flavor, though. Even so, they were really good. They were also fatty but not overwhelmingly so. No dripping meat juice or anything like that but just enough fatty goodness that you can taste it.
Probably the reason why the Double Shackburger wasn’t a drippy, moist mess was the bun they used. The potato bun held up remarkably well while eating and it did a commendable job at absorbing the liquified meat fat. The cheese was melted just right. Didn’t become a liquid but gooey enough to cover the beef patties nicely. The only real issue is a rather small nitpick and it has to deal with the vegetables. I wish the amount of lettuce was more substantial and the tomatoes sliced a smidge thinner as not to be difficult to handle.
I had really high hopes for the Cheesy Fries as they looked good. Shake Shack was even smart enough to include a mini fork so your hands don’t get sticky from the cheese sauce. The fries themselves were really good. It may seem cliche but they were crisp on the outside while still being soft on the inside. They could’ve been blessed with just a pinch more salt, though. Well, those are for the fries that weren’t covered in the cheese sauce, anyway.
The fries that were covered in the cheese sauce sadly didn’t fare so well. They were soggy and limp. I even had trouble eating them with the mini fork as I couldn’t pierce through the mushy flesh of the fries. This meant I had to use my fingers, which pretty much made the mini fork a moot point as my fingers did get sticky from the cheese sauce. This does destroy the integrity of the crisp fries but this could easily be avoided if you request for the cheese sauce to be put on the side rather than covering them. Then again, they wouldn’t be called Cheesy Fries? Don’t care. I just want my fries to be crispy.
Finally, the last thing I have to talk about is the Black & White Milkshake. As someone who is generally lactose intolerant, I avoid milkshakes as much as possible. But, this is Shake Shack. It literally has the word “Shake” in the name! It would be an insult to them if I didn’t get a milkshake. I went for the most unique sounding flavor, which is the Black & White Milkshake.
While it does have a somewhat intriguing name, the Black & White Milkshake isn’t anything spectacular. It’s just a vanilla shake with chocolate fudge syrup. The name is also rather misleading as the Black & White Milkshake is neither black nor white: it’s brown. That’s because they mixed it all up.
I will say that the Black & White Milkshake was, once again, really good but isn’t for me. Not because I’m lactose intolerant; nothing actually happened to me after I had it. But I guess my tolerance to sweet isn’t that high anymore. It had a strong sweet aftertaste that didn’t agree with me. However, it did have a nice and smooth consistency. No globs of ice cream nor any thin parts. Yet it did feel thick all throughout.
Does Shake Shack live up to the enormous hype? Honestly, kind of. I definitely wouldn’t wait for two whole hours just to say I ate at Shake Shack like the other jerks that were in the same line. That’s just not the way I am. However, the 30 minute wait wasn’t so bad, especially with the knowledge that I will be enjoying a good burger afterwards. The real thing that’s really preventing me from giving it a solid “must try” rating is the price.
They use high-quality ingredients at Shake Shack, there’s no doubt about that. But I would rather wait for the hype to die down after a month more as the lines are just too long and the people in that line are probably going to be dumb because they’re just there to be “the first to try it out” instead of going there because they actually like good burgers. After then, yeah. Go for it.
Have you tried Shake Shack? Let me know your thoughts on your experience there in the comments section.