Sunday, 16 December 2012

Burger off… Dec 2012

On a recent trip to the States, my hotel was near the Upper West Side Shake Shack. I nipped in on the way back from a meeting as there was no queue at 4 in the afternoon. I had one. It was a well prepared, flavoursome, well cooked burger. With cheese. And on a cold, depressing New York afternoon it made me as happy as only a moist fatty meat product covered in cheese and dripping with juice can. However I've also come to the conclusion that there's not much more you can say about the damn things.

It feels appropriate to reach that conclusion in one of Danny Meyer's earliest outposts. After all, Shake Shack has been one of the biggest brands in the American gourmet burger scene since the Madison Square original opened in 2004. And when it comes to London next year, the city will likely reach the sort of frothing fever pitch not seen since the Beatles. (Look at the evidence)

Now I like a burger as much as (hell, much more than) the next man, but I've reached my limit of writing about them. In the last year, London has been swamped in special secret sauce, covered several times over by steamed or brioche buns and beaten almost to death with a variety of soft meat patties. We get it. We really do.

In summary, here are the rules:

  • If they don't ask how you want it cooked, or can't serve it below medium, then it doesn't bode well 
  • The new wave London chains of Honest, Byron, Burger & Lobster and the various outposts of the MEATempire are generally pretty good 
  • Independents (or nascent chains) such as Patty and Bun and Lucky Chip often achieve rabid followings but there will always be low grade impostors such as BRGR (just bland..) seeking to jump on the beef scented bandwagon 
  • The Gourmet Burger Kitchen is poor, as is Ed's Diner (and anywhere else calling itself a Diner for that matter) 
  • There are a handful of decent pub and restaurant burgers (Chelsea's Admiral Coddrington being the best) but they tend to get pricy 
  • The 'secret' burger at Joe Allen has been around for longer than all of them and is the thing I want to eat on Death Row before they wheel the gurney in 
  • If you go to New York or Miami then Shake Shack is good (though comes with a ludicrously long queue), if you get to the West coast then you have to try In'n'Out 
  • If you ever contemplate Maccy D and you're not either very drunk, or very hungover then please just walk away from me now. 

Other than that, it ends here.

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

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