First visit. A + for service, B- for food ( I’m very picky about my burgers and I like a basic burger not a pretentious one).
I had the Texas Smashburger, an addition to the basic menu which substitutes a slice of tomato for the ketchup on the All-American Smashburger. Whoo-hoo.
The burger was served open-face; the patty was irregular, loosely formed, beautiful. A portion of it fell off when I picked it up. Without any instructions from me there was little pink in the center of the burger. Unfortunately the toppings included thick slices of kosher pickle and just a squiggle of mustard on each slice. I’m not used to taking a camera with me when I eat and I forgot mine but here’s a picture I found on another discussion board. That looks exactly like my burger except for the missing squiggles of mustard.
The kosher pickles really stood out as being out of place and the skimpy portion of mustard was a joke. Overall my impression was that it was a very affected attempt at a gourmet burger. There are bottles of Heinz and French’s on the table so I could have added more but if you’re going to have kosher pickles and an egg roll why not at least some good deli mustard and sea salt and peppercorn grinders on the table?
I did not care for the Smashfries at all and wouldn’t order them again (olive oil, rosemary, garlic). The Haystack Onions looked good but I didn’t get a good look at an order of regular fries. The egg roll was too soft and squishy; it soaked up too much of what little juiciness there was and was too much like eating a burger on a croissant.
The meat, however, was very good. It’s the star of this burger and reason enough to return to give it another try. I’m thinking the best way to enjoy a Smashburger is meat with minimal accouterments.
The service was A +; I was greeted at the door and handed a printed menu but whether that is regular practice or just coincidence I don’t know (you order at a counter). After I got my meal no less than 3 employees stopped by in the first few minutes to see if everything was okay; one even offered to get a refill on my drink which was still half full. Before I was finished the manager also stopped by and sat down and chatted me up about the concept and how they wanted feedback and hoped to see me again. Wow! At a burger joint, no less. As he was walking away he suggested I try the Baja buger next time- aged Pepper jack, chipotle mayo and jalapenos on a chipotle bun.
There are some great burger places in Houston and this one will have some tough competition. Just a couple of miles away I know of a little place that does a fresh, never frozen burger with hand cut fries that’s very credible and it’s better than this and not even on the radar as one of the best in the city.
I do like Smashburger better than Five Guys which recently opened in a suburb way out west. I’m not sure this should be compared to S&S, Culver’s, etc.; it’s more upscale in approach.The decor tends towards sleek-modern-bistro, rather than fast food.
<message edited by dexmat on Tue, 12/30/08 12:09 PM>