I have been sitting on this post for a while. It’s not that I didn’t have a good time or that I hated everything, it’s just that this event was of epic proportions and every time I considered sharing, it seemed SO daunting!
But it must be shared with you because this is indeed a smashing good post.
Some weeks ago, I received an ultra-exclusive invitation from Yelp to attend an even at Brooklyn’s first and only Smashburger. I had never heard of smashburger but seized the opportunity to try something new and see what all the hype was about.
For starters, the establishment is bright and colorful. They obviously sell burgers but their mission was to set themselves apart from other burger joints by offering fast food with a twist. The founder of Smashburger first entered the food industry as a McDonald’s employee. Dissatisfied with the quality of the food, he set out on his own to start a company like Smashburger. At Smashburger, all the meat is fresh- not frozen. Also, a portioned amount of meat is place on the cook top and smashed. The smashing provides a beautiful sear and an evenly cooked burger. In addition to the method of cooking, smashburger has an assortment of fresh cut fries, ranging in flavors like sweet potato, plain, and garlic fries- hello heaven! You have the option to customize your burger, toppings, and bun.
Upon entering this burger heaven, we were presented with small menu’s for the evening, offered a drink, and greeted by the Smashburger team. I sat down, with an empty stomach and an open mind. The 2 hr event was filled with 8 burger samples, 3 fry samples and a surprise milkshake sampler. Despite being hungry when I arrived, I was ill-equipped in the stomach capacity department and after the 4th sample, was only taking bites of the next few sandwiches. When the shakes arrived, I thought I would die.
To start, I was handed an ice cold Brooklyn Lager. A much needed refreshment on the muggy day. Beer at a fast food burger joint? NICE!
Plates of Sweet potato fries, garlic fries and salted fries landed in front of us. I took the initiative to try a small forkful of each. The thinly sliced fries were crisp on the outside with soft innards; my favorite way to eat French fries. They were designed to be served from freshly sliced potatoes and to maintain their crispness.
My overall favorite was probably the garlic fries. I love me some garlic.
We had a great pep talk from the Smash Burger Rep who was talking us through each sample and throwing some burger knowledge on us. Not only did I leave full, but I left a little wiser in Burger 101.
Each Smashburger location as a location specific burger that is exclusive only to that particular store. The Brooklyn, appropriately named, is Grilled pastrami, aged swiss, onion and yellow mustard burger on a pretzel roll. It was a sight to behold. The starter was definitely a winner in my book… and with plans to expand in the big apple, the next burger was The New Yorker.
The New Yorker is a burger topped with local cheddar, garlic grilled onions, spinach, tomato and peppercorn aioli on a brioche bun. Another really good burger.
With the exclusive location burgers, I have a really great incentive to travel and find a smashburger. The Colorado burger, for example is topped with green chilies, pepper jack cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato on a chipotle bun- talk about SPICY!
Moving right along we tried one of my favorites. It was very much a hat tip to McDonald’s Big Mac, only the beef wasn’t gray and the burger was juicy! The Classic Smash was filled with American Cheese, Smash sauce, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles (Amazing pickles!) and onion on a soft egg bun. Really good. Everything I loved about fast food when I was a teenager is now a possibility in that it won’t put me in the hospital (that is, if I only enjoy it once in a while).
Then, my favorite burger combination of all time: The Mushroom Swiss. It speaks for itself as a burger filled with mushrooms and swiss on a soft egg bun. The only thing missing from this classic was a dab of mayo. But I’m a mayo addict. (sorry mayo haters!)
By this time, with 4 more burgers left to try, my stomach was pretty much at capacity. I promised to take at least one bite of the last 4… but in all honesty, the first 4 were the best- the rest were good but not my favorite.
BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar had a lot going on. BBQ sauce, Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, and fried onion on an egg bun. I have never really been into BBQ burgers mostly because I find the bbq sauce too overpowering for the other elements. And while everyone really liked this one, it was a pass for me. Texturally it was good, but all that lovely bacon was missing because of the heavy and spicy bbq sauce.
They spicy Veggie Black Bean burger was indeed Spicy! I couldn’t handle it. Pepperjack cheese, Guacamole, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, chipotle mayo and jalapenos on a chipotle bun. Spicy. Spicy. Spicy. The raw onions added a pungent element to this that just didn’t work in my opinion. However, they score points for the black bean burger. It was a great texture and it was made from scratch. We had a guest in attendance who was vegetarian and they had all the burgers but with the black bean burger instead of the beef…I can’t imagine how full they were at the end of the evening.
The last two were more sandwiches than burgers and for those that did not eat beef.
Classic Chicken was very good with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion and mayo on a multigrain bun. The chicken was fried but you can order it grilled (sound familiar??). Very crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, thanks to not over cooking it and the dollop of mayo. A nice change of pace if you want to avoid beef.
Last but not least, the avocado club. A multigrain bun filled with fresh avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing. I took a bite. I couldn’t fit any more! But it was delicious.
Just as I thought the evening couldn’t get any better, they brought out the shake samples. Smashburger prides themselves on their shakes because they are the only franchise with an exclusive deal with Haagendaz. The shakes we tried were the cookies and cream and strawberry. They were awesome. The Cookies and Cream was an instant favorite for me… but for those that don’t like cloyingly sweet shakes, the strawberry does the trick!
I left with barely any room to breathe! They really piled the plates high. But I left with a great burger joint on my list of great places to go! This is quite a gem in the NY area that I cannot wait to catch on! A fast food joint with all the awesome quirks of a sit down establishment allowing you to customize your burgers with quality ingredients for unbeatable prices- great place!