Update: I don’t know that I’ve ever gone in to retroactively update a review before (though I probably should more often–many places have closed or gotten better–or worse–after repeated visits). However, M Shack just opened a new, much buzzed-about location at the Town Center with an expanded menu. We visited the beach location fairly often, so I was excited to finally get to stop in for lunch with coworkers not long after the grand opening.
As at the original location, ordering is lunch counter-style. The line to order was long on our visit, but we had no trouble finding a table once we made our choices. I went with one of the new burgers on the menu, the Portobello Truffle Burger (gouda, bacon, truffle portobello, sherry glaze):
I really enjoyed the flavors of this burger. As I noted in my original review, the patties are a little on the small side, but they have that great flavor and loose pack of fresh ground burgers. I was a little disappointed with the “truffle-flavored portobello,” as I was expecting a whole mushroom cap or at least large slices. What was there was more like a duxelles, but less creamy.
One coworker, our resident bottomless pit, went all in and ordered M Shack’s Insanity Burger (2 patties, grilled cheese sandwich “buns”, LTO, pickle, shack sauce):
Yes, he actually finished, and enjoyed this (AND he is perpetually skinny [ugh]). I’m surprised M Shack didn’t include the crowning glory, bacon.
We all found the sides [still] lacking. I was not impressed with M Shack’s fries before and I still only found them ok. Even the addition of truffle oil and parmesan didn’t improve them much. The demolisher of the Insanity Burger was also going to put away an order of onion rings (how does he do it?!) but declared them straight up bad (no seasoning). The one redeeming item was the sweet potato tots, which had the perfect crispy/creamy texture.
I also got an pecan pie milkshake, which was delicious but proved to be too much for lunch. What I am mystified by, though, is how I managed to miss the fact that M Shack now has BOOZY MILKSHAKES. I am positively itching to get back and try a peanut butter bourbon shake.
In addition to a few new burgers, the new menu also includes salads, dressed-up hot dogs, and chicken and fish sandwiches. A quick look through recent reviews of the beach location shows less than stellar reviews–I wonder if the original location suffered while the owners were getting the new one together? Hopefully, keeping consistent quality at both won’t be an issue.
The latest venture of Jacksonville’s Medure Brothers (the minds behind Matthew’s Restaurant and Restaurant Medure), M Shack, is working to establish itself as the place to visit for creative burgers at the beach. The airy space and full bar and fit well with the beach location. The menu is displayed on large chalkboards on the wall–but FYI, you don’t have to stand back from the counter to decide on your order, there are smaller printed menus there too.
With promises of competitively-priced, high quality burgers, I had to go see what they had to offer. And once I caught wind of their menu a few weeks before opening, I knew what I’d be ordering: The Medurable, an M burger (fairly standard cheeseburger) topped with foie gras and bacon onion compote, $18. Mario had the much more affordably priced The Sunrise Burger (bacon, farm egg, American cheese and Shack Sauce):
I was shocked to see such a HUGE slice of foie gras on the burger. Though there’s little to complain about when foie gras is involved in any dish, my only hang-up was the lack of a nice sear on the outside of the slice. However, judging from other photos of the gourmet burger I’ve seen popping up around the web, M Shack has rectified that issue. If you’re wondering about the taste, the foie is thick enough to get the earthy, buttery texture and flavor, but still acts much as a “sauce” for the burger with its rich fattiness. I know that was not at all confusing.
I thought the house-ground “Black Angus blend” patty was delicious. Cooked to medium (unless otherwise specified–but you really shouldn’t get much more cooked than that), the juicy burger is a tad small, but its freshness makes it one of the better burgers I’ve had in Jax. Mario was satisfied with his burger, but not overly impressed. I think it was missing foie gras
The fries were a major disappointment. Though M Shack says everything is made in-house, the fries tasted no better than frozen. We didn’t go for any of the gourmet options (truffle parm, queso cheddar, “Ultimate” [Queso, Prosciutto, Cheddar, White Truffle Oil and Fried Farm Egg]), but with the fries we had as a base, we felt any of the dressings would be wasted. I hear nearly unanimous praise about M Shack’s milk shakes, but didn’t try one on our visit.
I enjoyed the food (aside from the fries, which need improving) and community atmosphere at M Shack, and look forward to more visits. The majority of the menu is quite reasonably priced for such a quality burger.