I was thrilled when my foodie friend, Stef, asked me to join her for lunch one day. Not only did we have some major catching up to do (the night before was her first culinary school class) but since our lunch date was in the middle of the day I knew I was going to be starving… I knew a burger was going to hit the spot!
Steak n’ Shake in Midtown Manhattan is the perfect place to go if you need to get off of Fifth Avenue or out of the Time Square Area, and it’s the perfect place to grab lunch to go if you’re looking to do a picnic in the park. Unfortunately it’s too cold for a picnic and during the week there isn’t enough time to squeeze that into my schedule. So, Stef and I grabbed one of the few booths to chow down at. This is something I found frustrating, there weren’t enough places available to sit and eat at. People piled into a very small space to wait for their food and moving around to grab your food from the counter was annoying! Then it was a mad-dash to try to scoop up a seat or two in order to eat lunch. And forget eating alone, the people who did this and took up a table that really seats two people became the enemy. Nasty glares were given to these solo burger eaters until they gobbled down their food quickly and made a run for the door. (No, Stef and I didn’t give nasty glares although we did stand with our food in hand waiting for a table to open up for at least 10 minutes.)
I’m not a big french fry person, so I was shocked when I fell in love with the perfectly seasoned thin fries from Steak n’ Shake. I love fries that have that potatoey sort of texture — not the type that are more crispy than anything. And a great fry can be eaten without any dipping sauce like ketchup or mayo.
When it came to the burger, Stef went for more of an “All American Burger” sort of style burger and I went for the Guacamole Burger. Piled on between the buns and above the hamburger patty was insanely fresh guacamole that would make Whole Foods wonder what their secret ingredients are, cilantro, pepper jack cheese, squeezed lemons & limes, and topped with a spicy chipotle mayo. I couldn’t believe how fresh the guacamole was — it couldn’t be more clear that they make their ingredients fresh. The guacamole added a delicious fresh flavor while the spicy chipotle mayo and pepper jack cheese infused a fantastic kick of spice.
I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap the entire menu was! For my burger and fries the total came to $4.99 — prices like that in the city will put a smile on a local’s face!
Stef and I are both burger lovers and ultimately we came to the conclusion that Steak n’ Shake was fantastic but the major thing missing was a house made “special sauce.” Shake Shack has a special sauce and it’s the most beloved ingredient! It’s an art to be able to create a sauce that makes all different types of burgers taste delicious and more importantly unique to other burger joints. On a side note — I couldn’t help but notice that Stef couldn’t sip her shake through a straw, and when I looked around at other diners they were all eating their shake with a spoon! A spoon! No, that’s not good. A shake should have a thick consistency but is easily drinkable through a straw. If a shake was supposed to be eaten with a spoon then there would be no lid and no straw given to customers.
I dont’ think I will be going back to Steak n’ Shake when the weather is cold outside. I will probably wait for the sunny warm spring weather to arrive so I can eat my burger outside on a bench rather than fight the hungry crowd for a seat.