Jeff and Ed have done it again. After opening 67 Burger in Fort Greene Jeff Maslanka has brought his less-expensive burger concept Black Shack to Midtown Manhattan. Though the name sounds like an amalgam of Shake Shack and Pat LaFrieda's Black Label blend, the idea for Black Shack was kicking around far before the two burger staples even existed. "I wanted to open Black Shack before 67," Jeff told me.
The burger at Black Shack is cooked the same way as at 67 (over a flame grill) but is half the size (and almost half the price). Although the burgers are cooked over a flame, the obligatory propane taste that most gas-driven restaurant 'grills' impart is surprisingly absent. That's because...well, I'm not telling you - this secret is too good. Some of you know that I'm not a fan of the gas-grilled burger and let's just say that Jeff's method made me a believer.
Where the signature 67 Burger is a beast (a glorious, blue cheese-and-bacon beast), the burgers at Black Shack are very manageable and depending on your appetite may require a second patty (offered at a cheap $2 extra.) There are three burgers on the menu (which I just noticed offers things like a chicken sandwich and something called 'tofu'.) Expert burger taster Kris B and myself opted for the Black Shack Burger and the Western Burger. The Black Shack is a tasty, straightforward, loaded burger and the Western is piled high with thin house-made crispy onions and a tangy BBQ sauce. Kris asked for the extra patty on his Western and the toasted white squishy was up to the task. The Western was a hit with both Kris and I, those onions...
After eating a signature 67 Burger a few months back my wife (a recently converted vegetarian) exclaimed, "This is one of the most amazing burgers I've ever had - I have to stop eating burgers." A ridiculous statement, I agree. Let's see if I can get her to Black Shack so she can swear off those too.