It’s been five days since Shake Shack released its Crispy Peking Chicken Sandwich with James Beard nominated Chef Erik Bruner-Yang. Shake Shack is known for supporting local food retail companies such as Gordy’s Pickles for their Pickled Jalapeño Burger as well as Pollystyle, an artisanal baked goods shop, whose graham crackers are used for their Jefferson’s Jam Concrete, a custard-like sundae. So a collaboration with one of D.C.’s most talented young chefs seemed inevitable. Erik Bruner-Yang took D.C. by storm back in 2011 when he launched Toki Underground, a ramen shop, in the now hip H Street neighborhood. Erik chose to stay in the neighborhood when he open his second venture Maketto, a mixed restaurant and retail space located a few blocks away.
When Shake Shack dropped their Chick’n Shack back in January, people lost their minds. Danny Meyer’s beloved burger joint had introduced something to fans who had a hard time choosing just between burgers, hot dogs, crinkled-cut fries and thick, delicious custard (though we aren’t complaining). Yet what many didn’t know is that the collaboration between Chef Erik and Shake Shack happened long before the Chick’n Shack’s debut. Along with Shake Shake’s Culinary Director Mark Rosati, the two attempted various flavor profiles, even for burgers. However, they turned their attention to fried chicken. Thinking of using Maketto’s popular fried chicken, it was its salty and sweet caramel fish sauce which proved to be incompatible for the Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls used for preparation.
Yet the two passionate chefs did not give up and decided to use Maketto’s delicious hoisin sauce which comes with all their steamed buns. What they created is shear genius. Think of a Chick’n Shack adorned with crunchy cucumbers, brined pickles, and scallions only to be drizzled with an addictive umami sauce…that my friends is what the Crispy Peking Chicken. Although Chef Bruner-Yang doesn’t plan on adding the sandwich to Maketto’s menu he does hope that Shake Shack will keep it on theirs for a bit longer and we couldn’t agree more. You have until Sunday, April 24th to grab one of these babies in one of Shake Shack’s D.C. locations, because when they’re gone, they’re gone.
Photos by Jai Williams