I'd stumbled upon this veggie masterpiece at their original location at Madison Square Park, NYC. The location that gave rise to a cult following and hour long queues snaking around the park for a simple burger and fries. The memory of that particularly piggy day sticks out in my mind like it was yesterday...I walked up to the Shake Shack counter and ordered The Shack Stack - the two-in-one burger that combined their regular beef patty with a 'shroom (as in, mushroom) one. I sunk into the layers, mentally cross-checking against the description I'd read on the menu:
bun, check, lettuce n' tomato, check, cheese, check, sauce, mmmm. check, beef patty, check, 'shroom patty, che...omg. oooMG. O-M-GGGG. SO-INSANELY-AMAZI...ZzZzZaAaP~~~~!!mental short-circuit.
My tastebuds had been blown out of this world. The veggie option totally trumped the beef burger, and I vowed to become a 'Shroom burger loyalist - no beef patty, just the 'shroom - from then on. As I sat in the Shake Shack in Dubai, nostalgically stuffing my face with an favorite from my past life in NYC, the awesomeness of this gobstoppingly fantabulous burger came flooding back to me.
You know that feeling people get when they want to squeeze a chubby baby's cheeks? That's the feeling I get when I look at this bun. Not your usual sesame seed rounds, but a super soft and slightly sweetish potato bun. Rich and dense and pillowy beyond belief.
Lettuce. Imported all the way from the US to Dubai. A bit excessive no? Who even really tastes the lettuce on a burger bun? As long as its fresh and crisp, it's done its job. And you get fresh and crisp in Asia as well.
Mayonaissey Shack Sauce. Salty, creamy. I'm going to ask for them to slather it on more generously when I next visit the Dubai joint.
...and then, the moment that I'd been starving myself for the entire day until dinner time, the 'Shroom patty.
That patty is a devilish portabello grenade, disguised on the outside with a deep brown shell, crisp fried in some places and chewy mushroomy in others. Crunch into it, and it explodes in your mouth with thick bubbling molten cheese.
Once I was done gorging on my cheese-oozing 'shroom patty, I actually did sample some of the other menu items...
Cheese Fries. They start out as a worthy accomplice of the 'shroom burger for a few fleeting minutes...until the cheese congeals into a plastic sheet over the fries. And they could have been a tad bit crispier. Quite a few tad bits actually.
Shack-Cago Dog. nnneaah. Nothing special.
Great White Way. Frozen vanilla custard (aka dense super creamy and rich ice cream) with rice krispies and marshmellow sauce. Sugar shock is a side-effect of this baby I'm sure, but I couldn't help but giggle with girlish happiness at every spoonful of this childish indulgence.
The Shack Attack. Overdose of chocolate, with chocolate custard and other chocolatey fudge things, topped off with chocolate sprinkles. My brain suffered chocolate frostbite after one spoonful. It was way too much chocolate clomped together without any interesting flavor variations to spice things up.
Upper West Slide. Frozen vanilla custard with banana and strawberry bits. A little bit of fruit at the end of a meal can aright all the cheesy excesses of your recent past.
Salty Caramel Custard. I loooove salty caramel. Far less ambitious compared to the tall glasses of thick shakes with all their fixin's. But the perfect mellow way to close out a 'shroom burger that's already given you your dose of cheesy opulence. <no picture, but trust me, it hit the spot.>
[I-Don't-Know-What-It's-Called] Custard with Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Good, but not memorable enough for me to remember what exactly it tasted like.
(Disclaimer: I had been invited, along with fellow food bloggers, to the opening night of Shake Shack in the Mall of the Emirates. It was an evening of free food and lots of photography. Whether the experience and food remains consistent past the opening date is still to be seen.)
Location: Mall of the Emirates (next to Ski Dubai)
Phone: +971 (4) 409-9000