Jack's Burger Shack lends much-needed burger punch to Edmonton's well-heeled northwestern neighbour, St. Albert. Although locating the spot is a bit challenging for those not well-acquainted with this mini-city's downtown, gustatory rewards await the necessary sleuthing and pavement-pounding.
An Orange Creamsicle Shake starts off the evening with a creamy, frothy glass of citrus-vanilla nostalgia. This icy brew tastes uncannily like the frozen childhood treats of long summers past, and a straw much wider than the one provided would be most welcome.
Fries are clearly sliced from whole spuds and bear the crisp, brown skins of their progenitors. A good dusting of salt treads a fine line between "just right" and "too much" salinity, and is offset by the provided cup of smooth, garlicky aioli.
The Cobb Burger promises an appealing roster of ingredients; the sum of the parts, however, does not equal the whole. Like its namesake salad, the Cobb wears a heavy coat of bleu cheese and bacon. The patty is charred to just this side of being burnt, but maintains a remarkably juicy interior. Tomato relish is pleasant, but resembles diced tomatoes, rather than true relish. Bleu cheese, which ought to be one of the highly-billed artists in this production, is somehow lost in the melee.
The BBQ Crunch Burger fares much better. Topping a hamburger with potato crisps is borderline sacrilege to some, but evokes a heady, savoury, "all dressed" suite of flavours that just belong together. Prerequisite cheese and bacon are anything but contrite. Only the bun seems mismatched; as with the Cobb Burger, the bun is far too large for the patty plus toppings and one is left with an ungainly crescent moon of bread at the end.
Jack's and Sky High, in summation, present a significant departure from fast food burgers in St. Albert and Sherwood Park, respectively. The "Cole's Notes" take-away points include:
- Better fries at Jack's. They are crisper and come with a pleasing alternative to ketchup.
- Better patty at Sky High. Juicy and irascibly beefy all the way through.
- Shakes are a toss-up. The flavours are more creative at Jack's.