Kirbie's Cravings

Smashburger (Downtown San Diego)

Burgers appear to be the new “it” food for 2011, judging by the expansion of burger chains this year. For example, Five Guys is expected to open two hundred locations in 2011. In addition, I’ve seen the opening of four locations of Smashburgers in San Diego alone over the past year.

Not that I’m complaining. I love burgers.

Recently, a Smashburger location opened up in downtown San Diego. I was invited to a media sneak peek preview where guests got to sample anything on the menu prior to its grand opening, all complimentary.

Smashburger is your classic burger restaurant. The menu consists mainly of burgers, fries, and shakes, with a few other options thrown in the mix like hot dogs, salads, and chili.

Inside, we were greeted to the familiar menu from visits to other Smashburger locations. As we placed our order at the register, the employees rung up each order and gave us a copy of the receipt so that we could see how much our food would have cost if we were paying customers that evening.

One thing different from some of the previous media invites was that for this one, we were allowed to order their haagen dazs ice cream shakes. For the previous ones we attended, everything on the menu was up for grabs except for the shakes because they were passing around samples of the shakes for people to sample. I was pretty happy with being able to order a full shake to enjoy.

For my burger, I chose the San Diego smashburger, which is my favorite burger on the menu. Served with a chipotle mayo, pepper jack cheese, fresh avocado and fresh cilantro, I really love the combination of toppings and flavors in this burger.

Something I noticed from this burger that I didn’t notice on my previous trips to Smashburger was the bun. According to the menu website, the San Diego is served on a torta roll, while the other burgers are served on an egg bun. The roll was very sturdy and well-made. Definitely not your store-bought flimsy hamburger bun. This is the type of bread bun I’d make at home from scratch.

My burger patty was a nice pink color. The toppings and flavors were great. The burger was not too oily and did not get soggy.

I chose to get the smash fries, which are thin cut fries tossed in rosemary, garlic and olive oil. I absolutely love the smash fries here. It may be my favorite thing on the menu. Burgers and fries go hand in hand so it always puzzles me when burger places serve mediocre fries. During my burger challenge two years ago, I was disappointed by all the forgettable fries that were being offered at our favorite burger spots.

I also noticed that there were onion rings on the menu, which I hadn’t tried before, so I decided to sample them.

These thin, haystack onion rings reminded me a lot of the canned ones that people use for a Campbell’s green bean casserole. I didn’t particularly love them, but I didn’t hate them either.

Future Husband (“FH”) chose to order the BBQ bacon and cheese burger.

For his side, he chose the chili. He loves that chili is served at Smashburger and is always talking about it. I think the chili is pretty average and nothing to rave about, but FH is a fan.

Finally, our shakes. Each one came in a tall glass, with a silver shaker with the excess drink.

FH ordered the oreo shake. It was a little on the runny side, but enjoyable.

I ordered the vanilla shake. I could definitely taste the creamy haagen dazs ice cream.

I love that shakes are  on the menu. One of the things I found so surprising when I first went to Five Guys is that there are no shakes on the menu. A burger place without shakes? Not cool.

Anyhow, we had a good experience during the media sneak peek. We’ll have to revisit soon now that it is officially open and see if the food is still as great as during the preview party.

801 Market St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 241-2207

Smashburger on Urbanspoon

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9 comments on “Smashburger (Downtown San Diego)”

  1. That’s one thing that bugged me about Five Guys…no shakes!! And I’m starting to lean back towards In-N-Out burgers tasting better than Five Guys though I love all the toppings offered at Five Guys. But fries wise, Five Guys is much better than In-n-Out’s. Though I recently had some very delicious duck fat fries at Beer Belly in Koreatown. 😉

    We haven’t had a Smashburger up in LA yet that I’ve seen/heard. Curious!

    • I keep debating whether I like In-N-Out or Five Guys better. Some days it’s In-n-out, some days it’s five guys. Oh duck fat fries…i love duck fat fries!
      Yeah I think Smashburger is only in San Diego and Sacramento so far for California.

  2. I think I need to revisit SB b/c everyone seems to really like their burgers. I wish they’d do something about their fried veggies – have you tried it before? It was super ‘depressing’ (if you can even describe food that way!).

    Does SB ask how you want your burger cooked when you place your order?

    Have you tried The Counter in Del Mar – that might be a new burger place you’d try out (sis and I ate there and didn’t like it all that much).

    I stopped by Five Guys in Costa Verde over the weekend – still been meaning to try their burgers but haven’t had the urge just yet for some reason.

    • I’ve had some good experience at SB, but I think it depends on the location. The Mission location when I went wasn’t very good. But the Del Mar one was. I have not tried out The Counter. Since you didnt like it much, would you recommend I stay away?
      I think they did ask how we wanted out burgers cooked. I did try the veggie fries and didnt really love them. It’s weird because they promote them a lot.

  3. Dang, I keep getting invites to SB’s events but I’ve yet to find time to do it. Both burgers look really good. I certainly would like those fried onions on them!

    • Aw, too bad. You should go! I think they plan on opening 3 more locations this year in SD, so maybe the next one!

  4. All this burger talk is making me hungry for one! It looks like Smashburger is a bit higher in price than Five Guys. Interesting that they have restaurants in Sacramento and in San Diego (no SF, no LA).

    I’ve been to The Counter in Carlsbad. It’s more expensive and more upscale, and those add-ins add up! But you should try it and see if you like it. I thought it was good, but not enough to make a drive just for their food.

    • Yeah Smashburger is definitely higher in price compared to Five Guys. Five Guys is more of a fast food burger in my opinion. Smashburger is more of a restaurant burger. The meat patties are thicker, and aren’t cooked to a well done like you get at fast food (unless you request it I guess). The bun is higher quality, etc. I think it’s odd that they are in Sacramento and San Diego also and not the other big cities.

  5. I agree with the other reviewer’s take on In-N-Out vs Smashburger: In-N-Out just tastes better and fresher, but the toppings at Smashburger are better. It’s great to see another high-quality (though some wouldn’t call a burger place high quality) business invest in a downtown location. Many locals think we’ve seen the peak and fall of downtown San Diego economy-wise, but I disagree. And we’re loving being here!

    Thanks for the yummy pics!

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