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Bang for your Burger Buck: Shaka Shack ~ Santa Monica, CA

1:13 PM PST on February 28, 2013

Whole Burger shot 4
Shacka Shack sign

The theme song of Magnum PI was dancing in my head and my 1997 Green Acura transformed into a Red Ferrari 308 GTS as I barreled down the 10 freeway toward Hawaiian themed Burger joint Shaka Shack. Expectations were elevated, like riding shotgun in a helicopter with TC, as Shaka has the pedigree of Spago via a chef consult and a baseline burger price that keeps it in the Bang range.

Menu 1

Prices escalate here quickly, my cash strapped brethren, but you are here for the utterly delectable grass fed beef which can be had at the reasonable price of $5.95 pre tax. Similar to Juicy Burger, one must live without cheese, fries or Allah/Yahweh forgive us, bacon, to keep the check in check. But it is all for the best as these accoutrements would only mask a beefy burger that can hold its own with places charging $10 or more.

Cross section 2

Let's get down to business: these people can cook a burger. Medium rare came out as requested, a fair amount of char and enough juice seeped from the burger to almost compromise the structural integrity of the bun, which is more than understandable because I let mine sit for 5 minutes for a photo shoot. You will most likely be a 1/3rd of the way through at that point, completely in rapture as you realize that these three words:

Grass Fed Burgers sign

. . . mean love at first bite. Grass fed beef isn't just a burger blend; it is also political statement, something that I could care less about. I am moved by my taste buds, and Shaka Shack has that Maxwell House factor of "good to the last drop". You will savor this burger to the very end. The price tag is warranted because of quality ingredients that also include a fatty fresh slice of tomato, a Hawaiian sweet roll morphed into full sized bun and a tangy and smooth house burger sauce that resembles 1000 island, sans relish, that anchors the gourmet factor and reminds us burger freaks that it is ok for burgers to just be burgers.

Whole Burger shot 2

The Bottom Line: $6.52 with tax for a succulent, juicy burger that needs little adornment so don't think for a second you are shorting yourself with the basic Shaka. In fact, this burger deserves a try with sauce on the side; the beef is that good. At Shaka Shack, the bang for your burger buck comes down to offering quality ingredients at approachable prices.

Mural 2

And at Shaka Shack, a side of "mahalo" is always on the house.

1701 Ocean Park Blvd. Santa Monica , Calif. 90405 ~ (310) 450-5551 ~

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