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Restaurant Review: Fresh-N-Fast Burgers
December 15th, 2009 by plumpdumpling

I was skeptical at first, but like many New Yorkers, I call the burger from Shake Shack in Madison Square Park my favourite in the city (and maybe tie it with the burger from Cozy Soup ‘n’ Burger in the West Village). So naturally when I heard the burgers from the new Fresh-N-Fast on 23rd St. compared to the ones at Shake Shack, I had to go. I also heard them called blatant ripoffs of California’s famous In-N-Out burgers, so I had to bring along my San Franciscan friend Beth to act as judge.

The problem was, um, that Beth had never actually eaten an In-N-Out burger, something which I probably should have cleared up before I, you know, invited her along to test the burger for me. Instead, she apparently always orders the grilled cheese, which is what she ordered from Fresh-N-Fast. I always used to order the grilled cheese from Sonic back in the day, so I won’t make fun of her, but I should mention that I was doing that during the eight years in which I was a VEGETARIAN and that NORMAL PEOPLE should not be ordering cheese sandwiches at a burger joint.

Aside from the grilled cheese, Fresh-N-Fast has the sparsest menu possible (burgers, fries, shakes) and decor to match (counter space along one wall but no chairs). The staff was very cheerful, which helped us excuse the unnaturally long time I had to wait for my burger. But oh, was it a burger worth waiting for: thick and juicy and sloppy with sauce with melted cheese oozing out of the sides of the bun. The overly-greasy (in a good way) fries reminded me of a county fair, but the cheese sauce wasn’t your usual processed nacho nastiness.

As much as I loved the burger, it was definitely hurt by the lack of the signature Shake Shack sauce, and there’s just no comparing the accouterments at the two places. The cheddar on the fries at Fresh-N-Fast is delicious, but the blend on the Shake Shack fries is special. The shakes at Fresh-n-Fast are thick and flavorful, but Shake Shack has the best shakes ever in flavors like Candy Cane Crunch and Figgy Pudding. Plus, Fresh-N-Fast is way overpriced, especially for the shake, which has already decreased in size since opening just a few weeks ago.

However, there’s exactly one reason to go to Fresh-N-Fast: it’s indoor, which means no waiting outside in the elements for a half an hour in the always-insane Shake Shack line. But that’s only if you think having your skin eaten away by the cold isn’t worth it for a superior burger. And I hope you don’t.

Fresh-N-Fast Burgers
111 East 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010 (map)


12 Responses  
  • thickcrust writes:
    December 15th, 20099:58 amat

    Shake Shack is so overrated. I’d bet money that most people wouldn’t pick a Shake Shack burger in a blind taste test. It would be hard to arrange such a test because by the time you got your Shake Shack burger all the other burgers would be cold, but maybe we should try over Xmas break. Or has “the man” taken that away from you too?

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      December 15th, 200911:12 amat

      I actually didn’t care for Shake Shack the first few times I went there. The black and white shake only tasted white to me, and the burger tasted different than, say, McDonald’s but not in a way that I’d pay 5 times as much for. The past three times I’ve been there, though, I’ve thought the burger was awesome. I like to think I’m above being swayed by the critics, but I’m happy to taste test with you AND PROVE YOU SO WRONG.

      After January 4th, though, since of course I’m going to be in Ohio from Friday until then, no matter what the man says.

  • Tracey writes:
    December 15th, 200911:40 amat

    “processed nacho nastiness”?

    I thought you’d never met a cheese you didn’t like.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      December 15th, 20098:46 pmat

      You know I meant that in a good way.

      The only cheese I’ve met that I haven’t liked is the kind with the little bugs living on it. NOT COOL.

  • Bachelor Girl writes:
    December 15th, 200912:19 pmat

    When I come to NYC, we are SO going to Shake Shack.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      December 15th, 20098:50 pmat

      I’m already standing in line for us, because that’s pretty much how long it is all of the time. And then it’s another ten minutes of waiting after we order. WORTH IT.

  • spaghedeity writes:
    December 15th, 20095:46 pmat

    oh, you’re watermarking your photos now?

    i see what you did.

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      December 15th, 20098:54 pmat

      God, cut me a little slack. When your burger sauce slops over the edge of the bread just so, you don’t want anyone stealing that shit. Even though they can just, you know, lop off the bottom 1/8th of the photo.

  • Eating The Road writes:
    December 15th, 20098:51 pmat

    AHT had a write-up not too long ago…an In-N-Out rip….and not as good as your SS:
    http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/11/first-look-at-fresh-n-fast-burger-review-flatiron-nyc.html

    I swear you NYC’s are so spoiled with your Shake Shack. Although having lived in CA I had In-N-Out near me and never took full advantage of it…now I’m regretting it :( I think the 2×2 Animal-style is truly one of the best burgers around.

    Screw Fresh-N-Fast :P

    • plumpdumpling writes:
      December 16th, 200912:57 pmat

      I read that review when it came out, but I’m glad you reminded me of it, because I’d forgotten this part:

      I don’t understand why these places offer such gargantuan-sized shakes that no single human can finish, unless that’s actually what most people want. Maybe it is.

      FOOLS! It’s probably that chick’s fault that the shakes are small now. I need a little more clout over here at donuts4dinner, apparently.

      I don’t even know what animal-style means! I feel incomplete.

  • Eating The Road writes:
    December 16th, 20091:27 pmat

    My word…you don’t know about Animal Style?!?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-N-Out_Burger_products#Secret_Menu_variations

    “Animal Style – patties are grilled with mustard or “mustard fried”, add pickles, add grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and extra spread.”

  • Eating The Road writes:
    December 16th, 20091:28 pmat

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