Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shake Shack -- The Verdict

We think the trade of Harley Davidson for Shake Shack was an improvement for this touristy stop, just off Michigan avenue.  We braved the long lines of the early days, and were not disappointed by this NYC export.  A very-well conceived burger, put together perfectly with a nice collection of toppings.  And, for a smashed patty, we were pleased to see a note of pink as opposed to a solid gray.  Indeed, even our ketchup lovers didn't miss anything in the house presentation.  The crinkle fries garnered somewhat mixed reviews, but the burger walks the walk.  Low 90; high 93; average 91.

Exhibit 52 -- Shake Shack

The Lobby -- The Verdict (on retrial)

It had been a while, and with The Lobby menu revised, we retried a burger at this posh ladies-who-lunch venue, high off Michigan Avenue.  This time, a much more consistent experience ... starting with the leisurely pace of affairs, despite fawning service.  A "scrumptious, classic burger, served in a luxury setting, with fawning service...for a somewhat absurd price. If you've got your fancy shoes on and can get over the price point, you are definitely in for a treat. Juicy, flavorful meat, perfectly cooked bacon, gooey cheese, buttery bun, with what amounted to a fresh riff on McDonald's secret sauce to boot." "Perfectly cooked, perfect amount of char, perfect brioche bun, perfect fries and even perfect condiments." Here's the final word:  "I'd definitely come back.  If you were paying."  Low of 84; high of 89; average of 86.

Exhibit 51 -- The Lobby (Peninsula Chicago)

Hot Chocolate -- The Verdict

For our Fiftieth Burger (!) outing, a good time was had by all.  We all enjoyed the vibe, the drinks, and the apps, and this landmark in our burgering journey.  At that point, though, we parted ways.  Some enjoyed the balance of the evening, in spite of the burger; whereas others enjoyed the evening, burger and all.  The pro-burger cohort found the high expectations met:  "I like that it isn't nouveau at all.  Butter bun, beef, cheddar and bacon, all excellently executed."  For others, the char triumphed at expense of juiciness and flavor.  "Char she blows," wrote one, who thought the burger had a "crust like Walter Matthau."  Many also thought the potato chip side was a poor substitute for fries.  And, don't get us started on the teeny condiment containers.  Nonetheless, even a burger detractor noted he would "come back for the chill scene along on the hopes that the kitchen can better handle a single order for a burger, rather than the 12 we had," which apparently caused a bit of a challenge.  Low of 69; high of 87; average of 78.

Exhibit 50 -- Hot Chocolate

Exhibit 49 -- Inadmissible

Don't ask.