Steak ‘N Shake Signature Is Good, But Not Worth the Wait (Yet)
On Thursday, Steak ‘n Shake opened its doors, and the Midtown masses descended in the rain, first for the free food for a year and then for lunch. Last week’s opening brought lots of media attention, including a New York Times article quoting Danny Meyer on growing up eating Steak ‘n Shake, which is the inspiration for our beloved Shake Shack. It’ll be interesting to see New Yorkers compare the two over time.
Luckily for us, Lunch’er Hightemp was on the scene on opening day, albeit for dinner, and wrote this review of the original double cheese burger (which is the most like Shake Shack), plus one of the dog options.
Since its in my ‘hood I went by for dinner. Waited outside for about 5 minutes around 8pm but I hit them right when the “perfect storm” of kitchen craziness hit so ended up waiting about 40 minutes inside to actually order. I got a free strawberry shake for waiting. The staff was all very friendly.
Got an Original Double Cheese ‘n fries and (since I had waited and felt like I had to justify the wait) a Chili Cheese Steak frank ‘n fries. Everything was good and came out fast. I can see how they get credited as the inspiration for the shake shack. Burger had that same crusty/salty thing going on. Frank was sort of a normal frank but the chili and the onions they put on was a nice touch…could have used more cheese. Fries were really good…thin and crunchy…though 2 orders was excessive even for me. Still I’m very glad to have it in the area.
When I was there, my wait was also longer than expected.
The outside wait time was 25 minutes, inside was 15 and then it took 5 minutes to get my food once I had ordered. Apparently they’d been getting a lot of large $80 orders that backed up the kitchen and stalled ordering so they could catch up. I’m sure once the hype dies down and these guys get into a groove, the wait time will improve, but I think I can speak for most ML’ers when I say, 45 minutes is just too long to spend waiting on a regular basis.
I ordered the new menu item, the Signature Steak Burger ‘n Fries ($5.99) and a vanilla milkshake ($2.99). The vanilla shake had a luxuriously rich, thick consistency, which is exactly what you want from a real ice cream milkshake. Topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, the shake exudes diner nostalgia. Plus, my shake cup told me they offer happy hour on weekdays 2-4 p.m. and a.m., which means all shakes and drinks (excluding Red Bull) are 1/2 price. Nothing on the menu is particularly expensive, but if you’re looking to grab lunch on the later side, this might be a nice option to save a couple bucks.
The signature burger is a 6 oz organic beef steak patty topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. My first impression is that the meat itself has more flavor than BV’s burger, but probably less than Shake Shack. While a very good and moist burger, it wasn’t in any way remarkable enough to make me want to wait 45 minutes a second time. The hand-cut fries were thin and crispy, with the just the right amount of salt. If you’re a fan of shoestring fries like I am, these are absolutely worth a try!
I’m very interested in trying some of their other burger ‘n fries combos, especially those on the specialty menu. A colleague of mine swears by the frisco melt, which admittedly sounds pretty rad. But, I think I’ll wait several weeks before returning in the hopes that the hype — and therefor the wait — dies down.
The + (What someone who likes this place would say)
- The price is right!
- The shakes are rich and delicious.
- Shoestring fries are the best (and steak fries are the pits), and I could eat these all day long.
The – (What someone who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Did we need another burger place? I hadn’t heard.
- What makes this burger different from all other burgers?
- Yikes, I don’t have that kind of time for the line, especially in the cold.
Steak ‘n Shake, 1695 Broadway btw 53+54, 212-247-6584