By: Dan Constantin

When it comes to burgers, my usual dive is a greasy burger joint you would question the sanitation of. I was understandably skeptical of SmashBurger. Too many new places try to redefine timeless classics such as the burger. Furthermore, it’s a chain and it’s way too trendy looking for it to actually be good. I decided to look past these two facts simply because Chipotle is exactly the same and it is the mecca of upscale fast food. Also, Patrick really wanted me to check it out since he couldn’t.

The menu was fairly diverse, containing various burgers, a chicken sandwich, hot dogs, salads, sides, shakes, and beverages. I didn’t get to inspect it as thoroughly as I would have liked before ordering because I felt like the guy waiting behind me was rushing me, even though I was clearly letting him go before me if he wished to do so. In my rushed order, I got the 1/2 lb Classic SmashBurger- $5.99 (your basic cheeseburger,) a side of SmashFries- $1.79 (fries tossed with rosemary, olive oil, and garlic,) and a drink- $1.69. Aside from the ridiculously priced drink, I’d say the meal was fairly priced for a not-exactly-fast-food place.

I sat down eagerly awaiting my meal while I read over the menu again. I immediately regretted not getting the Texas SmashBurger and realized I completely forgot to get a chocolate shake. Oh well, there’s always next time. I also noticed they had a decent selection of add-ons available. Extra points for offering a fried egg and fried onions to add to your burger (that’s going to go on the burger next time too.)

The burger arrived fairly quickly and was presented open-faced on a paper-lined metal tray with a separate basket for the fries. It looked and smelled delicious and I could hardly take pictures before diving in. The patty slightly hung over the sides of the egg bun, just as it should. The bun was not very fluffy so you never got that “mouthful of bread” feeling. The burger was seasoned exactly to my liking and the toppings were very fresh. The thick-sliced pickles were a treat. The smash sauce was your basic mayonnaise-based sauce but it was tasty enough. Overall it was an excellent burger, juicy enough without soaking the bun and it never fell apart despite the large patty. You could really taste the olive oil and other seasonings on the fries and it was a nice departure from your standard fries. They were thin cut and crispy, exactly how I like them. I liked the SmashFries and would recommend them, but next time I will most likely spring for the regular fries.

The meal was brought to my table after I had ordered and sat down. My table was visited twice (once by the manager) to see if I was enjoying my meal. They also took my completed platter from my table once I had finished, a nice gesture in an establishment without a wait staff.

SmashBurger pleasantly surprised me. I would rate this as one of the best burgers in Houston, if not the best. Offering a good number of menu options, anyone can customize a meal to their liking. Top notch service and top notch food. SmashBurger has redefined the burger joint without redefining the burger.