Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I won't lie: I have an affinity for Shake Shack. It's like the sibling I never had, the salt to my pepper, the chocolate to my vanilla. In more rational terms, Shack Shack has never before let me down. That was until orphan sibling Shacktoberfest came around.

My trip to Shacktoberfest was in good spirits. A tantalizing, Bavarian-inspired menu had graced the Danny Meyer godsend for a short span on earth. I read about tales of Usinger's plump sausages, custard concretes that taste of Black Forest Cake and Sachertorte - even a sturdy selection of special Oktoberfest beers to polish off the meal.

They have lederhosen screen-printed t-shirts. And cute little clay bier steins with 'Shacktoberfest' logos. Buy one of those and you even get a free filling of brew.

How could anything so darling disappoint?

It could've been the crusty, cardboard tasting buns. Possibly the lack of bursting tang expected from the cranberry-horseradish relish. The gloppy aftertaste of the Black Forest concrete.

The concrete was agreeable, a step away from satisfying. It swirled and melted like a smooth, silky pudding. Crumbles of an Oreo-like crust were sprinkled throughout like little Augustus Gloops in a pool of milk chocolate. I could practically taste the curdles of heavy milk fats present in the oversized dollop of fluffy whipped cream.

Yet this lingering, spicy coat of heavy chocolate taste stayed around after each slurp. It was more of an annoyance and distraction than a comforting, goodnight tuck. Lost were my memorable taste bud pleasures of cherry peels and baby blueberries that complemented the custard so wonderfully. Instead I felt guilty and gluttonous, stuck with the shame of ordering a dessert as a drink.

Seeing I might as well delve into the 10-day specials, which include German, Cajun and Italian sausages - I took a chance with the Stuttgarter Knockwurst topped with the recommended cranberry-horseradish relish. 66% failure.

The poppy seed roll was comparable to that of a dog toy. The relish was so dull I could barely taste the cranberry. Yet what saved the day was the gushing, tightly packed Knockwurst that could've been served by itself. Even with its pigheadedly thick and resilient lining, the struggle itself made it that much better - a true knockout, if you will.

Around the compounds, there's a new addition of flat-screen Sanyos that play bizarre little videos on loop. Dogs dressed in suits, Shack Shake uniforms and garden workers - for some unknown reason - are the subject matter of these mind-numbing films. Could be an omen for the dogs' buns?

In a way, my trip was a complete letdown. Possibly it was just meant to be - as an insight on Shack Shack's Achilles heel. Or it could've been an off day; the cashier didn't even know if they had Knockwurst. Whoever gets the blame; I'm sure it can be resolved. As long as they keep the Shack Burger and originals, all should be well.

Just don't let the October-orphan sibling get between us.

Shake Shack
Shacktoberfest through October 14
Madison Ave @ 23rd St,
SE Corner of Madison Sq Park

$6.75 Black Forest Concrete
$4.75 Stuttgarter Knockwurst
$.75 Cranberry-Horseradish relish

1 comment:

Alex Nguyen said...

Wow. That was fucking for real. Ahaha.