SBWFF 2011: Danny Meyer, Shake Shack, and The Matrix

Trina Sargalski
Shake Shack menu items like the ShackBurger, the Shack-cago Dog, the Bird Dog, fries and cheese sauce were paired with wines at Danny Meyer's tasting seminar. Not pictured is the custard with key lime pie.
Danny Meyer, superstar restaurateur and CEO of the group behind Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Café, led an unconventional wine tasting at the W Hotel today. Participants tasted each of six Shake Shack menu items with six wines each. We rated these 36 combinations on a matrix. Meyer instructed us to carefully judge each combination with a happy face, a serious face, or a sad face. The point was to find our own individual sweet spots -- that perfect balance of smoky, salty, spicy, sweet, sour, fatty and salty.

"We over analyze wine as a condiment," says Meyer. "It's no more mysterious than mayo, mustard, and pickles. It's just another condiment that we enjoy with our food."

Trina Sargalski
The matrix
I found that a good Shack Burger paired well with most of the wines, including a pinot noir, a chianti, and a muscat. Meyer explained the muscat thing: "Most people drink sodas (sweet) with their burgers."

Trina Sargalski
Danny Meyer's comprehensive rating scale for wine and Shake Shack pairings
But your taste is your taste, says Meyer. "Next time someone says you're supposed to have this kind of wine with this kind of food--it's hogwash. There's no one like you and no one with your individual tastes."

Meyer is known for his commitment to consistently great hospitality at his establishments, which he describes in his book, Setting the Table. I mentioned my Christmas wish for a citywide service intervention to Meyer. When I asked him where he's been made to feel most welcome in Miami, Meyer listed Michy's, Sra. Martinez, Michael's Genuine and Joe's Stone Crab. "There's groovy and cool and then there's hospitable. Miami does groovy and cool really well. But I think you can do both cool and hospitable."

Trina Sargalski
Wines included Mionetto prosecco, Au Bon Climat chardonnay, Qupe vioginier chardonnay blend, Blue Jay pinot noir, Fonterutoli Chianti and Mondavi moscato d'oro.
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Location Info


The W Hotel South Beach

2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: General

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Went to Sra. Martinez last week by myself. Sat at the food bar and was treated wonderfully.

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