After reading Marvo’s recent review on Burger King’s BK Shots and, just a few days ago, Jack in the Box’s new Sirloin Mini Burgers (Ruby Tuesday also has Ruby Minis), it’s become apparent that more and more burger joints around town are jumping on the slider band wagon, including The Shack Hawaii Kai, where, ironically, I had some just the other day.
White Castle – the place that made these mini burgers famous (thanks in part to Harold and Kumar) – has a trademark on the name Slyder™, but not “Slider”.
Reason why I call these “Shack Hawaii Kai Sliders” and not just “Shack Sliders”, is because these are different than the ones I remember having at the Waikiki location. The Sliders at The Shack Waikiki specifically say they’re made with Angus Beef, but these from the Hawaii Kai location use a much thinner pre-fab patty, that – come to find out – they get from Y. Hata Food Distributors on Sand Island Access Road. Hence the Hawaii Location just calls them “Sliders”.
When I say thin, if you could call a burger patty a “coin of beef”, this would be it. Check it out in cross-cut view…
Being so thin, as expected, they arrived at the table medium-well to well done.Thankfully The Shack Hawaii Kai has a well-seasoned open-flame gas grill, so even these “manju” thin patties still had that all-important seared, smokey taste. They were also seasoned with just the right amount of salt and pepper to punch out its beefy flavor, for whatever it could pinch out of these “coins of beef” patties. Unfortunately that thin profile also isn’t going to make these the juiciest of burgers, yet they did retain some of it, for what it’s worth.
Like the Waikiki location, the Hawaii Kai sliders are plated in 3 varieties: Swiss ‘n Shroom, bacon and cheese. I asked the waitress if I could have Swiss ‘n Shroom on all three, and she said no problem. Shoots! Hook me up! You regular readers here know I’m absolutely crazy about swiss ‘n shroom burgers. My fave’. I think it’s the ultimate burger topping. And The Shack makes a KILLER Swiss ‘n Shroom Burger. Arguably one of the best on Oahu, IMO. So even though the thin beef patties were a little dry, they were saved by the ooey-gooey melted swiss, buttery-garlicy sauteed mushrooms and grilled caramelized sliced onions. I tell you, those toppings can make road kill taste great. Not that the patties tasted like road kill (whatever that might taste like). Just sayin’. lol
Looking at the “buns”, they look like they were originally from a pan or package of conjoined dinner rolls, sliced in half for slider burger service. The ones I had on this particular occasion were a bit stiff, like they were 3 or 4 days old. If they were fresher (i.e. softer), it would have made the world of a difference. Still OK though, just had to mention that.
Just about everything I’ve tried that comes out of The Shack’s kitchen has been satisfactory to excellent, but if there’s one thing I wish they’d change is their standard curly fries. They’re OK when they come fresh out of the fryer, but any “older” than that, and they just taste stiff and lifeless. Some fries can pass that off, but somehow not these. Not only that, it kinda’ plays tricks on you, as you expect them to be seasoned since they’re curly like Jack in the Box’, only to disappoint you when you realized once eating it, that it’s just salt. It’s like “huh?”. At least they’re generous with the fries though, as you see on that plate.
Here I have a shot of the Sliders from The Shack Waikiki…
Looking at The Shack Waikiki Sliders, you can tell they’re hand-formed, whereas the prefabbed Y. Hata-sourced “coins of beef” in the The Shack Hawaii Kai sliders had a distinctive, uniform (mass produced) round/oblong shape. I haven’t seen The Shack Waikiki’s Sliders in the last month or so, so maybe they changed their patties to teh Y. Hata stuff too. As for the Hawaii Kai one tasting like it was Angus beef, I couldn’t tell. The Swiss ‘n Shrooms kinda’ dwarfed it. Hopefully the Shack Waikiki is still using this hand-formed beef. I’d be willing to pay the extra $1.50 for that.
What I wish they’d still put in Sliders is the lettuce and tomato. I’m one that gotta’ have veggies with my meal, including burgers. It just taste more balanced, and at least doesn’t give me a guilty conscience about my health when eating it, for whatever a slice of tomato and leaf of lettuce is worth. I’ll request that next time. Just tell them put it on the side and I’ll add it in.
What I do love about sliders is that all the layers from top to bottom easily fits in your mouth, allowing you to taste and savor its entire being. I’m with Nate on not liking burgers and sandwiches that are piled high with everything including the kitchen sink. Especially those pastrami sandwiches with like 100 pounds of pastrami piled on. What’s the deal with that? How do you EAT that? If you ask me, those kinds of burgers and sandwiches really are just plain reckless (to your health), pointless and lost. Bigger and more isn’t always better, and sliders prove that.
That said, I’d recommend The Shack Hawaii Kai use the hand-formed Angus beef the Waikiki location uses (or was using) in their sliders, and charge the extra price for it. It’s worth it. Of course, being a sports bar, probably half the people eating these sliders will probably trying to sober up, so even these “coins of beef” would taste like a million bucks in their state of mind. lol
Actually, at $9.50, it’s a really good value, as there’s easily enough to feed two hungry adults, with the plate piled to the rim with curly fries. You could cut each slider in half, providing each of you a “sampler” of the three different types to eat. Or served like that as a pupu platter for your entire party.
Where did you get it and how much? The Shack Hawaii Kai, $9.50
Big Shaka to: Smokey, nicely seared patty. Delicious Swiss ‘n Shroom topping. Allowing the option to make all the sliders Swiss ‘n Shroom style. Grilled onions. Generous portions. Exellent service. Beautiful waterfront view of Hawaii Kai marina.
No Shaka to: Beef patty too thin (leaning on the dry side when cooked), dense and “filler-like”. Bun (roll) a little stiff. No veggies in sliders (besides the grilled onion). Precooked (stiff and lifeless) curly fries. Unseasoned curly fries.
The Tasty Island rating:
(1) Average. (She Go)