Shack Fatigue? Schnipper’s Serves Up a Delicious Burger
In the two years that it has been open, Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen has always seemed to covet a spot amongst New York’s burger elite. Initial reactions to their signature offering were good, but not great. While Schnipper’s was quietly stepping their ground meat game up, by cooking patties to order and switching to LaFrieda beef, Shake Shack opened a few blocks away and the stakes got higher. Schnipper’s burgers have seemingly been climbing up the ranks of public opinion for a while now, so I decided to celebrate their 2 Year Anniversary with my first visit, and one of their new and improved cheeseburgers.
I wanted to keep things simple so I stuck with their standard cheeseburger ($5.99) with lettuce, tomato, pickles and red onions. Any “burger place” should be able to stake their reputation on the basics. I was certainly tempted by some of their specialty burgers (the “Green Chile” and the Hickory Bacon Blue to be specific), but the hefty price tags made it easy to refrain. And against my better judgment I got a bag of Schnipper’s homemade potato chips ($1.79). I think I was mentally incapable of ordering just a cheeseburger.
To put things as concisely as possible, my burger was very good. I ordered it medium rare and while the patty didn’t have much color to it, it wasn’t close to cooked all the way through and the insides were still mushy. The beef is sweet and smooth, with unfortunately no trace of a crust. In fact, the whole thing melts in your mouth to such a degree it’s in danger of being overwhelmed by the fresh toppings. I could have done with a little less tomato and red onion. I had read a lot of good things about Schnipper’s buns and I was not disappointed. The pillowy bun sort of forms itself around the contents of the burger, soaking up juices and keeping everything contained. It’s just a really delicious fast food bun.
To choose between this and Shake Shack, I would have to do a side-by-side comparison, but on more objective terms, I don’t see one having a major edge in quality over the other. The meat at Schnipper’s was less seasoned than at Shake Shack, so you think Shake Shack overdoes it, Schnipper’s could be the place for you.
My chips were fine. They were crunchy and they weren’t so oily or salty to nullify their natural potato flavor. They are definitely a nice way to add on to a meal here without committing to one of their side dishes.
The only real sticking point for me at Schnipper’s is the price. I would definitely stop short of calling it a rip off (I did get a satisfying lunch that I really enjoyed for under $10), but all the prices seem a bit inflated, especially with Shake Shack selling comparable (many would say better) burgers for $2 less. On the other hand, Schnipper’s most expensive burgers are the kind of creations you can’t get at Shake Shack, and might be worth splurging on. After this experience, I will definitely be back to try one eventually.
Also, for those that are interested, Schnipper’s has discontinued their breakfast service and are instead opening each morning at 10 with their full menu (their website doesn’t reflect this yet).
Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen, 620 Eighth Avenue (at 41st), (212) 921-2400