Costco is testing out a new cheeseburger at select locations, including its store on Cavitt Drive in Folsom. Early reports from national food sites such as Eater have remarked upon uncanny similarities between Costco’s new offering – featuring a 1/3-pound, organic beef patty, challah bun and smoked thousand island dressing – to a Shake Shack burger.
Shake Shack is a highly regarded New York-based casual-dining chain known for its smashed, caramelized patties and carefully sourced ingredients. The closest location to Sacramento is in Los Angeles. I have never tried a Shake Shake burger, but I did try the new $4.99 Costco burger, and will venture a guess they are not identical in flavor.
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First off, there was no caramelization in evidence on our Costco patty, which was kept in a steam tray before going in the bun. A cheese slice is added post-steam tray, along with lettuce and tomato, thus giving the cheese no chance to melt before you take your first bite.
The meat was a bit dry and tasted under-seasoned, apart from a welcome hint of black pepper. But there certainly was a lot of it, for $4.99, and the bun was nice and fresh, if also a touch too sweet.
As I ate this burger, my thoughts turned not to Shake Shake but to a nearby place and burger I do know – the Placerville Road In-N-Out and its never fail Double- Double. Sure, the Double-Double’s two patties together total only 1/4 pound. But the Double-Double guarantees char and melted-cheese gooeyness every time, and at $3.75, also costs significantly less than the Costco burger.
So why eat amid other Costco diners’ parked shopping carts? Organic isn’t everything.