Shake Shack is a bit of an anomaly in the fast-casual space. On one hand, they make what is hands-down the best beef patty in all of fast food, with meat sourced from well-respected butchers with years of experience. Then they top that shit with American cheese and serve it alongside frozen French fries and a milkshake that tastes like birthday cake. Rather than doubling down on the gourmet preparation like most fast-casual joints, Shake Shack plays to the fast food crowd.
They include American cheese because it melts fast and better than any fancy aged cheese out there can. The frozen fries crisp up better. The milkshake tastes like birthday cake because who doesn’t love birthday cake? But we’d be lying if we weren’t at least curious about what Shake Shack could create if they went full gourmet. If they treated each component of their menu with the same craft and care they put into their delicious beef patties, how deep can Shake Shack’s flavor get?
The new Black Truffle Burger answers those questions for us. After a successful pilot launch at a few shacks in New York and California last December, Shake Shack’s new Black Truffle Burger and Parmesan Garlic Fries with Black Truffle sauce will be added to the menu at Shake Shack locations nationwide, from October 15th through January 10th. We gave each a taste to see if the new treats are enough of an excuse to make your next meal Shake Shack.
Let’s dive in, starting with the fries.
Parmesan Garlic Fries With Black Truffle Sauce
If you’ve caught our fast food French fry ranking you’d know that I’m no fan of Shake Shack’s crinkle cut fries. It’s not because they’re crinkle cut (though crinkle-cut is the worst French fry form factor) and it’s not because they’re frozen before frying. It’s just because they’re boring. They don’t even really taste like French fries to me, they just taste like a fried texture in desperate need of sauce and seasoning.
So anytime Shake Shack does anything to their fries, I’m intrigued. But they really knocked it out of the park with his one. The Parmesan Garlic Fries with Black Truffle Sauce consists of a basket of crinkle cut fries dusted in a fragrant sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and chopped garlic and served with a cup of Shake Shack’s new black truffle sauce for dipping, which comes sourced from Regalis Foods and is made using USDA Organic Black Truffle Arbequina Oil.
Predictably, the oil is well-sourced and flavored with real truffles, making it apparently the only truly natural truffle product on the fast food market. According to Shake Shack, 98% of truffle products sold globally are actually artificially flavored with synthetic essences and aromas — a point with media outlets and independent research have also made.
Cool. But how does it taste? Well, in a word — delicious.
So delicious in fact that I wish Shake Shack took the liberty to put it on the fries! The sharp, nutty, and spicy qualities of the parmesan garlic combo — which is already packing lots of flavor — comes alive when paired with the deep umami complexity of the sauce, igniting your taste buds in the sort of way that makes you literally go “mmm!” like an idiot in the middle of Shake Shack.
Yes, they’re that good.
The Bottom Line On The Fries:
They’re a must order but I have a message to Shake Shack: Be Brave! Toss that sauce on the fries and add bacon and you’ve got a dressed fry that beats any chili cheese fry order out there as well as In-N-Out’s legendary Animal-Style fries.
Black Truffle Burger
As if the fries weren’t good enough, we come to the real star of the show, the Black Truffle Burger. Featuring a burger patty (or two, if you get the double) topped with melty gruyere and a serving of crispy shallots sandwiched between a toasted potato bun brushed with the same black truffle sauce served with the fries, this burger is a straight-up grenade of flavors.
Different flavors hit your taste buds at all angles like shrapnel — creamy salty Gruyere elevates the savory juiciness of the beef, while the crispy fried shallots add a remarkable crunchy mouthfeel that induces a counterbalance of delicate sweetness to the salty meat and cheese mix. The contrasting flavors then meld together in harmony, thanks to the deep umami qualities of the sauce.
The whole thing takes you on a wonderful ride. The toppings feel like the gourmet ingredients that Shake Shack’s exceptional burger meat deserves. Is it better than the Shack Burger? From a purely flavor perspective, I want to say yes. But the flavor is delivered with such decadent intensity that I can’t quite see myself ordering this as my new standard order at Shake Shack.
A burger featuring classic toppings, including American cheese, is just so damn hard to beat, which is probably why it’s Shake Shack’s standard in the first place. But now we know how beautiful it is to fly this close to the sun!
The Bottom Line
Drop what you’re doing, head to Shake Shack and order the Black Truffle Burger if you feel like getting your mind (and taste buds) blown for less than $10.
Find your nearest Shake Shack here.