There's something about the way an In-N-Out patty melds with the sauce and cheese to create a transcendent experience. It's more than the sum of its parts — it's a succulent delicacy that goes beyond mere burgerdom.Well, I've now eaten a few times at Shake Shack, and I have to say, it comes very close to matching the In-N-Out experience.
The burger is a similar size and the cheese/burger/sauce "melding" factor is comparable. The Shake Shack burger is a bit more oily, but BuboBlog's fellow taste tester (Kelly) described this as "juiciness."
Shake Shack's titular shakes are delicious, and the place serves beer. So that beats In-N-Out in the beverage department.
The fries seems to be the Achilles' heel for all of these chains (In-N-Out and Five Guys included). Shake Shack fries are okay — probably a bit too much like Five Guys, in that they were overcooked. (In-N-Out has the opposite problem, though you can solve that by asking to have them double-fried.) It's sacrilege to say this, but McDonald's probably beats them all in the fry department.
But when it comes to burgers, Shake Shack is about as close to an In-N-Out substitute as you're likely to get on this coast.