Sunday, March 11, 2012

Classic Burgers: Shake Shack & JG Melon

Happy almost Spring! We're lucky Daylight Savings Time began on such a mild, warm day. This afternoon we set off for a few hours of wandering about the city with hopes of catching an early, hopefully waitless dinner at Ippudo. But after a walking a few blocks out in the sun, we decided instead to join the end of the 40 min line at Shake Shack. 

It's something about the longer, lazier days that makes me think of classic, just-off-the-grill burgers that you'd get at home. No fancy cheese, no weird bun, no fois gras. Just quality meat, a basic hamburger bun, American cheese, lettuce, tomato. The Shackburger has definitely grown on me since the first time I had it. I like the almost jagged, uneven burger patties, the small amount of grease that seeps into the fresh bun, the American cheese that binds everything together. The krinkle cut fries have improved a lot here as well. They're crispier than they used to be. And better with cheese on top.

I'm glad it was getting a little chilly towards the end of the meal, or else I might have been tempted to hop onto the B Line and get one of those Concrete Jungle frozen custards with the fudge and peanut butter and bananas. OMG deliciousness. Shoot, I'm kind of regretting not getting one now.

JG Melon's burger is really similar to Shake Shack's, but they seem to get a lot less attention. Maybe because the old bar is tucked away on the UES? Still, the place still gets pretty crowded on the weekends. They use fresh, high quality meat with a lot of salt, plain American cheese, and a regular bun. I like to get mine with bacon for an extra crunch. 

I should add that I don't think any plain old burger is a good one. I'm a firm believer that it all comes back to the quality of the ingredients. Donovan's Pub in Woodside is supposed to have one of the better ones, but on my last visit, the burger was overcooked and the bacon had that springiness that old bacon tends to have. Lesson learned: a trip to Woodside will never be complete without a meal at Srirpraphai!

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park

JG Melon
1291 Third Ave (at 74th St.)

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