Richman’s observations, which are now up on the magazine’s website, are decidedly mixed.
While the Madison Square Park outpost is “informal alfresco dining at its best,” the “burger patties, ordered rare, were between rare and raw. The caramel shake was dark and bitter. The vanilla shake was semi-stirred again.” The Upper West Side outpost is “a Shake Shack for truckers and motorcycle gangs.” At the Upper East Side location, the “brand-new servers also forgot one of my burgers, but they gave me the missing item cheerfully when I went back to complain.” And in the Theater District, the “single burger, ordered rare and cooked perfectly, was wildly salty” and the bathrooms “require a Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff-style entry-code for access.”
But perhaps most damning of all is Richman’s verdict on the Shake Shack burger: “The meat, while beefy and dense, isn’t particularly flavorful or juicy. … We all crave juicy burgers, and blood is what juicy is all about. The LaFrieda blend is simply not bloody enough.”