By: Nicholas Joseph, San Antonio Restaurant Examiner
It seems like just yesterday the only viable businesses that could specialize in hamburgers were fast food chains and the Earl of Fudds. Everywhere you looked people chastised them, calling them unhealthy, fattening, and bad for your heart. And while some of that may be true, not once did you ever come across a reference to undelicious.
Thankfully, there has been a resurgence in popularity for these things, and Smashburger is quickly building a reputation as one of the most sought after offerings in this arena. Based in Denver, Colorado, they sell themselves as every citys favorite burger place, so the next logical move was, of course, to call their bluff.
Located at Hwy 281 and Evans on the far north side of the Stone Ridge Shopping Center, San Antonios first Smash franchise is full of stainless steel walls, red tables, and lots of staff. It does have a diner, neighborhood joint-like feel, but you dont eat atmosphere.
When you first hit the register, you are greeted by a smiling cashier who has clearly been busy since long before you arrived. The dining area is steadily packed; they have a patio, but unless you feel like dining on the surface of the sun, it is highly recommended you eat inside. This is San Antonio, and if we do anything well, it is survive heat.
Ordered were the following smash burgers (so named for their being smashed flat on the griddle, and not pre-formed): the Classic, Baja, and BBQ Bacon and Cheese. All three of them were cooked to order, cooked correctly, and quickly delivered. Plus, they serve Cherry Coke from a fountain, so already the place was living up to its hype.
The burgers: four out of five stars. They were juicy, and the rough edges and clumping bites off the patty indicated lots of real meat with each bite, not breadcrumbs, eggs, or other fillers. All of the produce on the burger was fresh and crisp, and bonus points to them for putting fresh-sliced jalapenos on the Baja and not defaulting to the stale, pickled green discs. On the BBQ Bacon and Cheese, the bacon was cut thick and cooked crisp, and people: thats how you do pig proud. All of the buns were light, airy, and perfect for burger-eating since they merely served as hand protectors from all the internal ingredients.
But the real scene stealer was their French fries. Absolutely delicious, they were cooked to perfection: crispy outside, soft inside. Oh, and garnished with fresh rosemary. Not sure if it was specifically designed to be rosemary or they just hit the ball out of the park by chance, but the fries at Smashburger are stellar, going well with every burger tried.
For three with drinks and sides, it came to $36 with tip. A little pricey it may seem, but keep in mind they market this as a dining out experience, not fast food. They also have takeout available, and they can be reached at (210) 497-4479 from 10am to 10pm.
So, if you are on a semi-tight budget (read: college date) and want to try new flavors in a familiar setting, Smashburger may – just may – become your favorite burger place.