So much press has been heaped upon the new Theater District Shake Shack, it's hard to imagine that anything has been anything left unsaid. And frankly, probably nothing has. But did that stop me from checking it out and writing this post? Absolutely not. So here we go.
It may go without saying, but don't even attempt this behemoth during lunch, unless your "lunch hour" is actually several hours and not the 10 minutes most midtown officeworkers get away from their desks. I went at around 6PM, and that was more reasonable-- I joined the line just as it met the door, so technically the line was still inside the building.
I was there, of course, for the frozen custard. The Shake Shack has vanilla and chocolate custard on offer every day, in addition to one rotating flavor of seven (one per day of the week) that change monthly. Got that? Good. There are special concretes-- the Shack's version of a Blizzard or McFlurry-- that are different location to location; for more on the Theater District Shack's three specialty concretes, visit here or here. Since none of the pre-made combinations sounded all THAT appealing, I went the make-your-own route.
First, a bit of the signature Danny Meyer service magic touch. When I reached the register, I asked whether their self-described "chocolate toffee" mix-in was the same as Heath Bar. The cashier actually didn't know (shame!), but she quickly said, "would you like to try a piece?" Yes! I would! She returned a few moments later with an example of their chocolate toffee in a tiny taster's cup. That sounds good, I'll have that.
So my order was placed, and a short wait later I had my concrete: vanilla custard with chocolate toffee whirled in. It looked a little something like this:
And how did it taste? First, the custard itself-- it's mild on the vanilla flavor, heavy on the creaminess. The texture is silky and eggy, and it's mouth-coating and heavy, truly decadent-- this isn't fro yo, people. The mix-ins were left in huge chunks, and they had mostly congregated at the top of the concrete. Unfortunately, the "chocolate" in this chocolate toffee was clearly mockolate, which, given the copious amount of mix-ins in here, lessened the experience a bit. Also, if you decide to replicate my order and get a concrete with toffee mixed in, keep in mind your teeth will be resurfaced and your fillings will be extracted by the time you're done chomping this bad boy. Given the intense creaminess of the custard, the crunch of the toffee was welcome, but... my jaw hurts.
A concrete with one standard mix-in will set you back $5.50, but it's also huge-- I dumped out a few heaping scoops of this portion and was still pretty darn full by the end, so you could definitely share this between two reasonable people. I must say, of all the frozen treats in NYC, the Shake Shack's frozen custard isn't my absolute favorite, but a concrete at the Shack is certainly a New York City experience that's not to be missed. And the fact that it'll fill you up and cool you down on a hot day is just an added bonus.
691 Eighth Avenue, at 44th Street