We realize that's it's a bit preposterous for The Infatuation to review new Harlem openings, while at the same time ignoring the salt of the local earth who've been at it for years. We're going to fix that. We promise to hit the glistening pavement hard. Get ready Amy Ruth and Sylvia, because we're coming for you. But first, let's do the Harlem Shake. Not the dance, the burger.
In their defense, Harlem Shake had picked out their name before it was a whole thing. They sort of stepped in sh*t, actually. There would have a bunch of excitement surrounding their hip new burger and shake spot regardless, but who's to turn down a little extra fanfare because of a name? All press is good press, it's just a shame Baauer didn't actually DJ the launch party.
Harlem Shake falls somewhere in between Johnny Rockets, Shake Shack, and Cafe Habana. It's a Quick Eats situation, with all kinds of cultural flavor. It's real flavor too, not the artificial kind. The owners all grew up in the area, are active in the community, and will be donating part of their profits to local charities. They're not cutting corners here either, they're using the good stuff in terms of ingredients; Pat LaFrieda meats in their burgers and Blue Marble ice cream in their shakes.
The burgers here are certainly unique. Harlem Shake takes a thin, double patty route, which is a different plan of attack than their peers. Their jerk sauce is excellent, and can be taken advantage of in the form of a chicken sandwich, hot dog, or fries. Also, as you would expect, the shakes are on point. We especially liked their namesake red velvet creation. The attention to detail at Harlem Shake really impressed us. We loved the TGI Friday's style buzzer that lights up when your food is ready, which purposely mimics the lights on the marquee. They've got solid beers on tap and serve Mexican Coke. Those little touches go a long way. We foresee Harlem Shake being a neighborhood staple for a years to come.
Food RundownHarlem Classic Burger with Cheese
A pair of thinly smashed custom blend sirloin patties lathered with American cheese, onions, pickles, and special sauce on a soft potato bun. These burgers have a meaty flavor, and remind us of an elevated, double-stacked from Wendy's. You can freestyle on your burger too, adding anything from a loosie (extra patty), to fried pork rinds, to pickled cherry pepper-bacon relish. Also, both veggie and turkey burgers are available, which you can customize however you want, or swap out with the beef burgers on the menu.Barbecue Onion Burger
This is the one to get. We thoroughly enjoyed this burger. Double patties with grilled onions pressed into the meat and topped with cheese, pickles, and homemade BBQ sauce. A very sloppy home run.Jerk Chicken Sandwich
Not your typical chicken sandwich. If you're into a Jamaican style jerk sauce, this is your move. The crispy sandwich comes on a soft potato bun with spicy Caribbean slaw & jerk mayo.Sonoran Dog
This one requires two extra miles on the treadmill tomorrow. A deep fried bacon-wrapped dog, with pickled cherry pepper-bacon relish, chipotle mayo, and onions. It's one of the best things we tried here. Do it.Classic Patty Melt
We didn't actually eat anything from their melts/grilled cheese section, but it's worth noting that all kinds of melted cheese sandwich options exist on the menu and our guess is they're probably pretty damn good.Harlem Shake
Milkshakes made with Brooklyn's very special Blue Marble ice cream are right up our alley, and the namesake "Harlem" shake is particularly awesome. It's a red velvet style concoction, but it's not overly overwhelming in the red velvet flavor department. There's just a hint of sweet velvet in the predominantly vanilla shake. So good.