Normally going any place merely two times doesn’t make one an expert, but after yesterday’s tasting lunch at Smashburger‘s newest store in San Jose (opening today), we know the menu well.
The deal with Smashburger: Do we need another burger place? Yes, we need a Smashburger. We spent a part of our lunch yesterday begging for them to open up in our hometown. It’s not typical fast food: they have plenty of options, they are concerned about offering healthy products, and the atmosphere is nice. There isn’t loud, thumping music, everything tastes fresh, and the burgers aren’t mashed down where is appears it was used as a football before being placed in my bag.
The Classic Smash is the all-American cheeseburger. It tastes homemade, and while good, leave this for the kids. There are much more interesting burgers to order.
BBQ, Bacon & Cheddar Burger is among the most popular for a reason. It’s popular with men, but the women at our tasting ranked it as their top burger. My husband loved it with a side of their chipotle dipping sauce.
Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger gets my best of show award. It was gooood. It has truffle mayo, sauteed baby portabella mushrooms, aged swiss cheese on an egg bun. It was tasty and light, leaving me feeling satisfied, but not stuffed. This is my top choice for my next visit.
The Bay Burger is our regional nod. Smashburger aims to give each geographic location their own regional burger representing the unique flavors of that region. The Bay Burger is truffle mayo, arugula, mushrooms, swiss cheese on a ciabatta bun. I’ve never called a burger refined before yesterday, but this is really good, full of flavor, but not overpowering. It tasted like something on a high end restaurant bar menu. It’s only sold in Bay Area locations. Smashburger stores in Las Vegas have a Sin City burger with eggs and bacon, Kansas stores use Gates BBQ sauce, Colorado uses grilled green chilis, pepper jack, and cheddar on a spicy chipotle bun,, Los Angeles has a crispy wonton on top of the burger, and Philadephia uses cheese wiz. When traveling, we try to avoid places we can eat at home, but trying the regional burger at Smashburger’s around the county is a fun option, especially when travelling with kids.
The Spicy Veggie Black Bean burger doesn’t lie: it’s spicy. I loved it, but if you don’t like some heat, skip this item. I order black bean burgers often and I hate when they are dry, crumbly, and/or flavorless. This wasn’t any of those things. It was intensely good, featuring pepper jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicy chipotle mayo, and fresh jalapenos on a spicy chipotle bun. I will definitely order this again.
The Classic Chicken is good, but like the Classic Smash burger, save this one for grandma, and go for the Avocado Club Chicken.
The Avocado Club Chicken is the chicken sandwich to get. It’s loaded with fresh avocado, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing and mayo on a multi-grain bun. It’s a winner.
Smash Fries are among the best fries I’ve ever eaten. They’re thin fries coated in rosemary, olive oil and garlic. They’re not greasy, and the garlic is mild. Order more than one if with your family or else things will get aggressive.
Haystack onions are another yes and they come with a horseradish-based dipping sauce, which is my favorite (but you could ask for a different sauce, too).
Veggie Frites are okay. My kids tries them on our first visit, and they weren’t going back for seconds. I like the thought and I think they’re good for little ones, but I’d skip.
The sweet potato fries I have not tried, mostly because I’m over sweet potato fries. However, I learned yesterday that as part of the secret menu, you can add the Smash Fries seasoning to the sweet potato fries.
I haven’t eaten any of the salads at Smashburger, but I saw their size: HUGE. It’s more than one meal for one person. My plan is to get a salad and share with my family as a pre-fries and burgers course. It’s big enough for a family to share as a side, probably with some leftover. The salads are made to order, so if you don’t like something in the description, ask to have to left off your salad.
We mentioned the sweet potato fries with Smash Fries seasoning, but two other off menu highlights include:
Fried pickles! Normally, I’d skip these, but there is a subtle kick to Smashburger’s version that I am hooked. Order ’em up.
PB&J Milkshake! It’s the Nutter Butter milkshake on the menu with strawberry sauce added. Not enough sauce to turn it red, but there’s definitely a good balance between the peanut butter and strawberry tastes.
Oreo mint milkshakes will be possible, maybe close to the end of the year. Oreo is available now with the mint addition coming soon as a secret menu item.
Salted Caramel Milkshakes are coming back Dec. 9 and this time they will stay on the permanent menu.
Smashburger is testing gluten-free buns, and also they plan to bring back the goat cheese, spinach, and cucumber burger.
Smashburger’s second San Jose location opened today at the Westgate Mall at Saratoga and Hamilton. They have plans to expand up the Peninsula, and while the company is moving fast, we can’t wait for the expansion.
Disclosure: We were guests of Smashburger San Jose for a complimentary tasting menu lunch.