For years, I’ve always highly praised Five Guys Burgers & Fries for being much unlike the mediocre from McD’s or any other [inter]national fast food chain and doing burgers right compared to “ehh” burgers at a diner. In the end of Summer of 2013, I noticed a place called “Smashburger” located next to an AT&T in Brick Twp., NJ… from the outside, it looked as if GameStop made a burger joint and used a similar logo style (and knowing my dislike for GameStop with a passion, it probably wasn’t something I was going to think about.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m always down for a good burger, but that first encounter was in the morning (at around 9:00am) – unless they served breakfast sandwiches, I had to find another spot.
Why did I finally go eat lunch “Smashburger” for once? Well, if you have been watching TV and surfing the net a lot, you may have noticed, as I did, that Smashburger is aggressively marketing their restaurants. The great example is the founder of Smashburger giving his guarantee that it will be, in my terms, a 10 out of 10 burger. A 10/10 rating has been difficult for most burger joints and restaurants to earn, so you can figure my seriousness of a bad, good, great, excellent, and perfect burger. Figuring this is my first post regarding a burger/burger joint review, I will go ahead and explain my rating of a burger.
|Burger & Burger Joint Rating System|
|1, 2||Bad – The person/people who made this burger put no heart to it, no detail, no taste, probably watery… I could probably go get a frozen microwaveable burger and it would be nicer.|
|3, 4||Good – The person/people who made this burger cooked it minimally. It’s a very bland burger. It doesn’t have a fully beefy feeling. Compare it to a “nothing special” diner burger or McDonald’s on a normal day.|
|5, 6||Great – There’s effort put into the burger. It’s a fresh, typical burger and is a standard. This is the place I’d go to if I was in the mood for burgers, but I wouldn’t travel far for. Compare to Wendy’s on a good day.|
|7, 8||Excellent – Created with love, all the seasonings and toppings blend in to create more than just a burger. Compare to a diner with high ratings for their burger (typically in New Jersey.)|
|9, 10||Perfect – Accept no substitute, this burger is unique. Bonus points to making each burger served unique as well. This is a burger I’d travel far for or pay extra money to have.|
Alright, so now that you understand the base of how I rate my burgers, let’s continue with this Smashburger review. This is based on the location near me on a Monday afternoon at:
591 New Jersey 18
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Here’s what I ordered:
- Classic Big Smash ($6.39)
- Smash Fries ($2.29)
- 22oz (Medium) Fountain Drink ($1.99)
A $2 discount was used for joining their loyalty program.
The Classic Smash Burger
Firstly, I tried the Clsasic Smash Burger in big size – figuring the name in itself insists you should try out the sandwich they call their original, I went ahead and ordered that. In this burger is a freshly smashed 100% Certified Angus Beef burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, pickles, American cheese, and Smash Sauce all in between an egg bun (a la Five Guys) presented open-face (bun and ingredients on the crown and the burger and cheese atop the heel of the bun. This type of presentation is a personal plus because it shows that the person who prepared the sandwich is presenting all its ingredients to you and not smashing anything that may be good out as where many other places will serve it to you, hiding the “good stuff” and potentially smashing them out. The beef is unevenly shaped and is smashed from the top, showing the evidence of the burger being made from fresh meat and not from [potentially frozen] patties. All of the ingredients surely tell you this burger deserves some attention for being above average… potentially something comparable to my previous 10/10 (being Five Guys.)
The first bite I took told me I was going to enjoy the remainder of the burger. There are some other places that’ll make you dig into the bun a little bit on your first bite and push the meat back further… that annoys me, so I can thank the egg bun and the smashed beef for this. The key words of a great burger are fresh and beefy – for a “smashed” burger, Smashburger seems to do it right. You’d normally attribute smashing a burger with loss of flavour. Somehow, this doesn’t happen with a smashed Smashburger. Add that with whatever seasonings they may have added and all the other toppings and, somehow, this burger is really well done. Something I’ve liked highly of is when an excellent burger gives an after-taste that’ll make you remember you enjoyed the burger. Their Smash sauce was something I was curious about that made me choose the Classic Smash – to me, it tasted like something that voided the ketchup taste (a tiny bit) and made made a slightly creamy light sauce that made seemed to blend with the cheese to give the burger a not-so-saucy-but-the-sauce-is-there feel and taste that isn’t too strong.
Finally, I tried out the Smash Fries – these fries are, quote on quote, tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic. The sound of that attracts as fries from elsewhere would tend to be the typical fried-up potato with nothing else… maybe the ketchup, if you dip the fries in ‘em (boring…). What I noticed, upon first sight of them, was how small each string fry was. Imagine a McDonald’s french fry, but a half of a square-centimeter smaller (and, for those worried about portions, don’t worry – I can agree it’s nicely portioned.) After tasting them for the first time, though, you’ll realise that it’s not the size of these fries that make the rating, but the taste. You’ll notice the rosemary, olive oil, and garlic throughout the entire batch of fries, but you’ll visually notice it all on the second half of it all. It seems similar to the T.G.I. Fridays Parmesan Steak Fries without the cheese and the large size per piece. Different fries are not common around here, so these fries are something I can dig into for a while.
Well, the hype and the guarantee lived up to its promise, so I will proudly say that this first review of my new blog will end in a very positive end – excellent. Remember, it takes two reviews (or 2+ visits to the same place) to have a place upgraded to a 10/10, ever. This is not like other burgers because they smash their burgers without leaking “”the “good stuff” (not too oily, yet still juicy and well done, top to bottom.) Pair it with some unique fries and you’ve got a nice burger & fry meal. I’m glad it’s not a burger just thrown to you “just like that” and that it’s a burger that shows its evidence of being fresh and beefy.
One More Thing…
Everything from Smashburger is fresh to order, so it’s a hybrid fast-food ordering and sit-down-and-eat place (unless you are taking out, in which case, it’s like a Five Guys-style take-out.) Your food is prepared when you order it and, if dining in, they’ll deliver it to your table. This might indicate a more appropriate lunchtime experience, but just remember – good things take time.