Shame on me. I had no idea Smashburger existed until photos of their burgers started popping up in my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I was intrigued. What was this place?
In the early days, before starting this food blog back in 2010, my idea of a burger was just an ordinary burger at a fast food place like Burger King or dare I say it – McDonald’s. Granted, those are good if you’re looking for “ordinary” burger. If you want something more, you need to broaden your horizons. Smashburger is a chain, but I wouldn’t put in the same category as the main streamers like Burger King. It’s more like In-in-Out and The Habit. Actually, forget that, it’s just really unique.
As a first timer to the Smashburger experience, I invited my food soulmate to join me. We both love a good burger and beer so this was perfect. We grabbed a cozy booth in the back and sat down with Stephen Sandoval as he went over the concept and we patiently drooled on our shirts waiting for our orders.
Each Smashburger is handcrafted and made to order. Why is it called “smashburger?” Because the burgers are not pre-prepared. They’re “smashed” fresh, seared, and seasoned to order, using fresh, never frozen 100% certified Angus beef. And trust me, you can taste it. Each location also has their menu with standard items you’ll find at every location and some regional burgers designed to match the palate of the location.
We perused the menu and decided on a few items: the L.A. burger, the Fresh Mex Burger, Veggie Frites, Smash fries, Harvest salad, and topped it all off with an Oreo shake. I guess you could say we can eat. There was an OC burger on the menu but unfortunately it just didn’t appeal to us. We were undecided about the two burgers we did try and couldn’t pick a favorite. We loved them both! The fried egg and wonton, mixed with the Japanese steakhouse ginger dressing was quite the palate pleaser. The Fresh Mex had me at avocado. I think avocado should be on everything and it was a good blend of tex mex flavors. As a side, I personally preferred the veggie frites vs the smash fries. And we both inhaled our Oreo shakes even though we were full at this point. Our salad unfortunately sat ignored while we gorged on our burgers but even though it sat for almost 30 minutes, we were both surprised that the chicken was still moist and flavorful and the dressing hadn’t turned it all to mush. Wow. We both took equal portions home for lunch the next day.
We left with full bellies, delightful smiles, and with the satisfaction of knowing we’d be back and hoping there was a location somewhat closer – like perhaps somewhere in north county. Pretty please.