Shackburger at Shake Shack
In less than 16 hours, Shake Shack arrives in Las Vegas. It's the only Shake Shack west of Chicago, and it swings open the doors right on the Strip at the New York-New York casino. It's kind of a big deal. I don't believe that because it's so good, though everybody raves about it. (This is my first taste of Shake Shack.) I think it's a big deal because this is the first time Shake Shack has opened in the same state as In-N-Out Burger, and in fact you could drive away from the Strip on Tropicana Avenue for just a few minutes and find In-N-Out. Those people who rave about Shake Shack's delicious quality and noble simplicity remind me of the west coast people who stand loyal to In-N-Out for the same reasons. So now, really for the first time, we can compare the two fast-food burger sensations side by side. I can't do that yet, because my sneak peek tasting at the Shack included this single patty Shackburger, and my normal order at In-N-Out is the Double-Double. Eventually, I will eat Shack's double, and then we'll see what's what. But for now, let's focus on this Shackburger and only sorta compare it to In-N-Out because, well, it's very similar. A thinner patty of obviously fresh, high-quality beef, not at all over-seasoned as to allow its satisfying meaty splendor to shine. It's all-natural Angus beef, freshly ground, a secret blend of specific cuts of cow, cooked medium unless you say otherwise. The bun is soft and almost spongy, different from In-N-Out because there's potato starch in it. Melty American cheese, lettuce, tomato, no onions unless you order them, and spread, er, Shacksauce. The sauce is certainly derivative of the ketchup-and-mayo "secret sauce" everybody uses, but it's thicker, creamier, more voluptuous and indulgent than most, including In-N-Out's. The Shackburger is not huge. It's the perfect size to force you to consider a second cheeseburger after you've quickly devoured the first. And it's decidedly delicious, pinpointing everything we love about a cheeseburger and all the satisfaction included therein. The whole point of the Shackburger is to take it apart, find the best possible everything, and put it back together again better than ever. And it's successful in that attempt. But yeah, I have to have the double. The thing is, the Shake Shack cheeseburger and the In-N-Out cheeseburger cannot be equal. They are too similar. They must be compared, and there must be a winner. Everyone must choose for themselves.