I’ve had many people ask for the ‘expert’s’ opinion on Smashburger expecting some overly positive response, and I think every time I answer them they leave disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent burger, but I have my reasons.
For the uneducated, Smashburger is becoming a decent sized chain of ‘cheap’, trendy burger places so I almost hate to review it, but here it is anyway. They are typically found in strip malls, somehow always located directly across the street from an In-N-Out at every location in Vegas. The décor is nothing to write home about, a big flashy red logo and accompanying signage at the back wall, cheap seating, and minimal treatment to the ceilings and rest of the space. Ambiance is not why you will come here, what will bring you here is the vague recommendations you remember hearing from friends or the intimidating drive thru line across the street at the In-N-Out you were about to go to.
The menu is better than most places I’ve reviewed lately strictly for the reason that they actually offer many pre-designed burgers to choose from, unlike all the do-it-yourself places that have been popping up all over town. Plus, I believe they have a somewhat localized item on each menu, as they have the Sin City Burger here which I am sure is not offered in their Georgia locations.
The burger itself is decent, the meat isn’t too flavorful but I don’t expect much coming from a somewhat fast food location. The bun is good, and proportioned quite well to the amount of meat you get. I’ve ordered the mushroom and swiss burger a couple of times, and have been happy with the fact that the cheese is typically melted, and the mushrooms are cooked well. It even comes out mostly medium-rare as ordered. The toppings on a couple of the other burgers I’ve tried have also been proportioned well, with good flavor. The fries are tolerable, but become much more flavorful as Smashfries, which are tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic. They might get a bit too oily, but are quite tasty.
This all sounds good right? Well it is, but what gets me in the end is that it’s just a bit too expensive for what it is. I don’t think I’ve walked away from the register without it costing me less than $14 for a meal here, which I think is a bit too steep for a fast food burger meal. This is where In-N-Out wins me over every time, although lots of people argue that the flavor is better here. I’m somewhat on the fence with that, but if I have the choice of spending $6 for a double-double meal, or $14 on a Smashburger meal, it’s a no-brainer for me even with the long line. Still, a lot of people speak quite highly of this burger, and it is a good meal no matter what you get, so if you’re willing to spend a little bit extra then by all means indulge yourself.