Smashburger offers many opportunities for delicious deviation
You know when you sincerely promise yourself you'll try something different the next time you eat at a restaurant, but then don't because you just love that one thing so much? That's me with the Truffle Mushroom Swiss burger at Smashburger. Every single time I've eaten at a Smashburger, I've ordered the same meal: The TMS burger with extra goat cheese and a side of Smashfries -- no deviations, no exceptions. But after trying other burgers and sides at a recent media event at the newest Smashburger location in Denver, I discovered that deviation can be downright smashing.
J. Wohletz The luscious Truffle Mushroom Swiss Smashburger.
My exercise in Smashfood deviation started at the store at 6305 East Hampden Avenue, where Smashfounder Tom Ryan, a food-industry rock star who has an impressive resume including inventing the McDonald's McGriddle sandwich, talked to the troops, explained the new design and rolled out the food. I got to try damn near everything on the Smashmenu: the burgers, the sides, the avocado club chicken sandwich, the new salted caramel shake. I loved almost everything I tried at the event, but I wondered: How does the Smashgrubbery rate on an everyday, non-special event basis?
J. Wohletz I do not trust this machine. I think it was watching me.
This Smashquestion needed a Smashanswer, so I cruised to the Smashburger at 7305 East 35th Avenue for lunch.The first thing I noticed was that this location, unlike the Hampden store, had a Freestyle Coke machine, something I recall talking with Tom Ryan about at the media event. I'd asked him if he was aware that those robotic drink dispensers were being used by Skynet for the purposes of human mind control, and he chuckled. (Yeah, keep laughing, sir. It won't be so funny when humanity is enslaved.) The Freestyle Coke machine at the 35th Avenue store was doing something I hadn't seen any of them do before -- a couple of weird blinky lights kept signaling something -- so I asked one of the cheery and wholesome-looking employees if the flickering lights meant that we had somehow angered the machine. She calmly informed me that it was all good, and the lights meant a cartridge needed to be replaced. (Yeah, keep laughing...)
I still kept my eye on it the whole time I was there.
I ordered two things that I hadn't tried at the media event: the spinach and goat cheese chicken sandwich and the Colorado dog. I also ordered the fried green chiles which I'd loved at the media event, as well as one of those little, aluminum 100-calorie bottles of Coke, for obvious reasons.
J. Wohletz Smash's Colorado dog is a mouthful -- and a stomach-full.
While my food was being prepared, I thought about all the burgers I'd even the week before, and was genuinely sorry that I hadn't branched out from my usual order much earlier. Smash's classic All-American burger really shows off the best qualities of the hand-smashed beef patties: the moist, juicy insides; the crisp beef-fatty outsides; and the perfectly melted square of American cheese definitely enhance the experience. I also love that Smashcooks use decent pickles -- thick, crinkle-cut dill chips with some turgidity to them.
The Spicy Baja Black Bean Burger was exceptionally tasty as well; the housemade, meatless burger patty was thick, dense and well-seasoned, and there was as much guacamole as there was patty -- and that is brilliant. Ryan had explained that for Smashburger's chicken sammies, the cooks pound the breasts flat so as to avoid the common annoyance of the fat middles/ jerky-dried edges. The avocado chicken club made good use of this technique, too, because the thinner patty left more room for thick slices of crispy bacon and rich, mealy avocado slices.