I’m calling mine a saltburger.
The latest entry into the Central Florida burger wars is Smashburger, the Denver based company with more than 275 of the fast-casual burgeries in operation either as company owned or franchise operations.
The conceit here — the gimmick that is meant to make it stand apart from a BurgerFi, or Burger 21, or Five Guys, or Shake Shack, or… — is that, as the name suggests, the meat patties are flattened as they are griddled. Not too flatly so as to remove all the juices, but just enough to remove the roundness of the meat ball and form a bunable patty. This is not a new concept, in fact, this is often referred to as the diner style of burger. It’s favored among some burger circles because of the crispy edges that the flattening allows. It’s anathema to those who insist on a rare or even medium rare burger because the short distance between the top and the bottom of the patty makes anything but a medium to medium well temperature all but impossible.
Admittedly, I am among those who prefer a medium rare burger, and I’m willing to take my chances with the health consequences to get a juicier burger. That said, I had no issues with the texture and juiciness of my Smashburger. The crisped edges were indeed desirable, and though smashed, there was still enough thickness to call it a patty and not a pancake.
My problem was with the seasoning, which was heavy on the salt side. In fact, several hours after eating my Smashburger I was still swilling water trying to counteract the feeling that my tongue had been brined. The burger was nicely served on a fresh bun with bright green lettuce leaf, raw red onions, a couple of tomato slices, and dill pickle slices (perhaps adding to the saltiness). A square of cheese melted atop. It was served in a metal basket with proprietary Smashburger waxed paper as a lining.
I ordered the “Classic Smash,” a regular size for $4.99 (plenty big enough for most humans). Another gimmick of the Smashburger chain is to create a burger for the franchised location. Here, the “Central Florida” burger features Wicked pimina cheese, Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard, fried green tomatoes, shredded lettuce & mayo on an egg bun. It just screams Central Florida, doesn’t it?
I wasn’t a fan of the fries, either. They were thicker than shoestring potatoes but lacked any real potato “meat” in them.
As with other fast casual restaurants, guests order at the counter and are given a table stand with a number. When the food is ready, it is brought to you by one of the food runners. Both the order taker and the deliverer were smiling and friendly.
It’s possible that my burger was the result of some horrible salt shaker catastrophe in the kitchen. Things happen. I might possibly give Smashburger another try. Or I just might wait for the next player in the patty wars.
There are currently two Smashburger locations in the area, at Colonial Landing, 3162 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, and Waterford Towers, 334 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando. Both are open for lunch and dinner daily. Check the website for more details contact information. To see menu prices, click on the menu for the specific location — the corporate menu does not feature prices.