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Smashburger Coming to YYC

However, I've never even heard of this chain. Can anyone provide some insight?

http://www.calgaryherald.com/business...

Still waiting for the first Calgarian Carls Jr..... ;)

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  1. I ran across this post on the discussion board. A blogger did a review in the Houston Press. She is from the north and did not understand the Texas way of mustard and no ketchup on the burger, so this is about a Texas style burger. She makes a typo on the ketchup/mustard issue on page 2, but corrects it in the comments. Houston by the way, you might think bbq, yes we have SOME outsanding bbq, but one thing done great here is burgers, and Smashburger is usually rated fairly high. We were recently rated #1 in the US. Houston was one of the first markets they expanded to, and are doing a very good business.

    http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/...

    1. I Googled their web site: http://www.smashburger.com/

      Seems like a standard burger joint with this twist:

      THE SECRET'S IN THE SMASH
      How do we make burgers this good, this fast?

      While most people are eating breakfast, we’re already doing lunch -- shaping fresh 100% Certified Angus Beef® into plump meatballs. (When was our beef frozen, by the way? Try never.

      )

      Why meatballs, not patties? Because unlike the other burger places, we don’t squish. We smash. Place your order and we spring into action, painting the grill with real butter, adding a dash of our secret spice blend, and smashing the meatball with a tool we invented ourselves (it’s so new it doesn’t even have a name -- let’s just call it the smashing tool). Smashing caramelizes the beef, creating a sear that locks in the juices as no other cooking method can. The result is a burger that’s more tender and flavorful than anybody else’s. A Smashburger. Not a squishburger.

      6 Replies
      1. re: cellophane_star

        Method is the same as Rocky's, if you've ever looked past the cashier to the grill, aside from butter and the "secret spice". I think Rocky is more into beef fat and seasoning to enhance rather than alter the natural beef flavour. But I will give them a try.

        1. re: Scary Bill

          I was in Minneapolis this summer and went to a Smashburger after hearing some buzz about this chain. I really liked the burger. I thought the flavour of the beef was great and the toppings were a great compilment. The fried egg was cooked perfect with the yolk oozing out as I bit into it. I also added garlic mushrooms and fried pickles. These toppings were not free but a welcome addition and something that makes this chain stand apart from the competition. The burger was a "restuarant-style" burger in a fast food joint if that makes sense...With all of the add-ons my burger came to $10 so it can be a bit pricier than 5 Guys.

          The interior was a little sleek and modern and it felt a bit "upscale" which is a good thing in my books. Another thing they do is create a specialized burger for each market they are in. I went a second time and had their Twin Cities burger which I don't think is available in other markets. Oh, they serve Haagen Dazs shakes!

        2. re: cellophane_star

          "Smashing caramelizes the beef"
          How does that work? I didn't think there would be enough sugar in beef to do that unless it's in the secret spice blend.

          1. re: hsk

            From what I understand when you "smash" a raw ball of beef into a very hot and flat grill, you maximize the surface area of beef in contact with the cooking surface. After it sizzles away in it's own fat(and butter), the result is a burger with a very flavourful dark brown crust. From what I gather they invented their own heavy duty spatula to first smash, then scrape the burgs off the grill. Very different than squishing a burger while it's cooking and forcing the juices out.

            I often use this method at home on my cast iron griddle and as Scary Bill mentioned so does Rocky's (amazing burgs)......I can't comment on anything else about Smashburger because I've never tried one but there's definitely something to be said for the smash technique.

            I'm looking forward to trying one of these....hopefully it doesn't take forever for them to open a location in the south end of town.

            1. re: hsk

              It's the Maillard reaction, which is the reaction between an amino acid and a small amount of sugar in the presence of heat. It looks and tastes sort of similar to caramelization, but isn't the same thing.

              1. re: 23skidoo

                I'll resist the temptation to elaborate.

          2. Did I see black bean burgers and "veggie fries"? :) I need more fast food in my vegetarian life.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jetgirly

              I'm not sure because there is no signs but the location from the Herald article finally has some construction activity going on.

              I would like to see a Carls Jr too, with a green burito.

              1. re: The Gut

                My brother said there's a "Coming soon, Smash Burger" sigh up on 32ave NE now.

            2. The problem I am having is that very respectable chefs from Mario Batali to Heston Blumenthal and Cooks Illustrated say that ground beef should be handled gently when making burgers to avoid compressing the meat into tough, dry patties. I do love a crust on a hamburger but I'm concerned about someone who would smash the meat.

              Sometimes conventional wisdom isn't all that wise though and I'm willing to give them a try.

              9 Replies
              1. re: sharonanne

                I would tend to agree that generally speaking, ground meat should be worked as little as possible when making meatballs or hand formed burgers. With this technique,(if done correctly) the ground beef is barely even touched before it is seasoned and "smashed" one single time. I've done it a hundred times at home and the result is a very tender and juicy burger with a delicious crust that develops from frying in it's own fat. The texture (at least in my experience) is far more tender than a burger that's been worked for 10 to 30 seconds in someone's hands(or a machine). It's kind of like the beef is just holding together because of the crust and would otherwise fall apart!

                Even if Smash Burger is a fail, this method is top notch haha. Give it a try!

                1. re: johnjohnson78

                  here's a video showing hoe smashburgers are made http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEiyHC...

                  1. re: nonlinear

                    I have to admit it looks good. We'll give it a try once they open.

                    1. re: nonlinear

                      that guy's hair... wow...

                      lol at the commentary at 2:30 - 'you get this beef on steroids flavour' I don't think he meant what he said there...

                      1. re: marcopolo

                        No, he meant it:

                        http://www.sustainabletable.org/issue...

                        Canada is similar

                        http://health.beefinfo.org/en/questio...

                        Certified organic is the only one without I believe.

                        "Smashburger, we help you pump iron!!!

                    2. re: johnjohnson78

                      Thanks but the Cooks Illustrated burger recipe is too incredible to miss. Long story short: you grind the meat in a food processor.

                      1. re: sharonanne

                        We stopped so my wife could press her nose on their windows. They said they will open on Wednesday and will have Macay's icecream intheirmilkshakesinsted or hagandas,

                        1. re: The Gut

                          Went for lunch today. There was a line up but well worth the wait. Burger was big and juicy, smash fries were fantastic. Cant wait to go back.

                          1. re: Bavin

                            The burgers were nice and juicy. I might have made a topping error, did not love the BBQ sauce.

                            All the sides we had were excellent, smash fries, sweet potato fries, vegetable frites and fried pickles. My wife is talking about going for chicken burgers tommorow.

                  2. Had a big smash, a bit greasy for me, but tasty and just slightly pink in the middle, perfectly cooked; my wife had grilled chicken, very good, if a little thin, and smash fries, great with the rosemary. Overall, very nice addition to the Calgary burger scene, but I still prefer the bison burger at Diner Deluxe.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: tibbles

                      Went back for the chicken. I'll be eating chicken when we go there. I had the grilled buffalo style, pretty good. The wife had crispy avocado club, it was spectacular. We grabbed a poutine, I loved it but I don't seem to like some of the poutines that are supposed to be good so maybe I don't know poutine.

                      1. re: The Gut

                        Went back for a second visit yesterday, this time trying the Grilled Chicken Spinach and Goat Cheese Sandwich. Bearing in mind that my expectations of just about any chain restaurant is limited, I was exceedingly pleased with this offering. Tickled even; I would go back for this menu item happily and often. From my first visit I had a survey code for free Smashfries which I utilized yesterday. Double-Meh. The Grilled Chicken Sandwich made up for it though. Double-Yay!

                        1. re: nutellaluvr

                          How sad to respond to my own post, but it must be said. I returned to Smashburger for a do-over of the Grilled Chicken Spinach and Goat Cheese Sandwich. I was highly anticipating this particular lunch, and (argh!), never again. They completely omitted the goat cheese (not a scrap to be found upon pulling the sandwich apart), three baby leaves of spinach and chicken that had gnarly portions. Of course, I had ordered takeaway so I didn't find out until I was long gone. I had a promo code for a free side and had decided to try the fried pickles which I wouldn't repeat just on the lack of crispiness. That's not to say they were outright soggy, but close. I was so bummed.

                    2. I had the bacon cheeseburger, onion rings, rosemary fries, fried pickles and milkshake. Everything was very good especially the milkshake. However the rings, pickles were a tad on the greasy side. I don't think they had enough time to let the excess oil drain.

                      Better than Clive burger and Five guys IMO.

                      1. Went on the weekend.

                        The burger is very good, beefy, lots of Maillard reaction goin' on, but the bun is a bit of a loser for a kaiser, soft and soggy when it should have a thin crust like a drumskin.

                        The smashfries are great.

                        The onion thingies are very good, and the dipping sauce with no name is really flavourful.

                        The deep fried pickles should be removed from the menu, they are incredibly salty and soggy. These things should have a crust of armour on them.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Scary Bill

                          They were way too oily but this was the first place I actually liked the fried pickles. I wanted to like them every time I've ordered them elsewhere but they have allways been too warm and mushy inside.

                          1. re: The Gut

                            Fried pickles are often not done right, at least how I like them, which is in spears with a very crunchy cornmeal crust. Often though, as you point out they are molten and mushy inside, and sometimes just slide out of the crust. I rarely order them because they are one menu item that is almost always overpriced, at least when it comes to my wallet. One pub chain in town charges $11.50 for a half dozen spears, about a pickle and a half, with a gob of mustard, producing margins of at least 90%, which is criminal for something that requires no skill or creativity whatsoever.

                          2. re: Scary Bill

                            We had the pickles too. They were nice and crunchy (fresh from the fryer - really hot) but inedible due to the saltiness. Disappointing. Burgers and fries (we had the 'special' fries with rosemary and olive oil) were great.

                          3. Went to Smashburger this weekend with a few fellow burger fanatics. I had the big Calgary burger. The patty was obviously fresh, and quite tasty, but the sauteed onions dominated the flavour of the burger, which I wasn't a big fan of. I should have just gone with the plain cheeseburger, or maybe made my own. The butterfinger milkshake was pretty tasty, and the chilli cheese fries were average at best. Wasn't a huge fan of the small, skinny fries.

                            The biggest put-off was the service. We were in there for about an hour from start to finish, and we only waitied in line for 5 mins tops. The place was busy, but I've seen Five Guys twice as busy with half the wait time. They clearly need to work on their expediency, or hire a few more kitchen peeps. It's a new place so I'll give them a pass for now...but I'm not exactly going to be racing up there again. I'll try them again down the road if I happen to be in the neighbourhood.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: electroleum

                              I was up in the NE the other day around lunchtime, and was craving a burger...so I figured I'd give Smashburger another try. It has been several months since my first visit, so that seemed like an adequate amount of time to elapse before giving them a second shot.

                              This time around I had the Big All American. It's not a fancy burger, but it's tasty. I must say that this time around, I noticed that the egg bun is absolutely delicious...definitely my favourite part of their burgers. I still think that their fries are very weak...thin, bland, and just not what you would come to expect from a burger joint. I'd expect fries like these to come as a side in a ritzy steakhouse, not a place that specializes in burgers.

                              Service was faster, but I cannot say that it was "better" because I went at 11:15 and there was one other patron in the restaurant at the time. I would have to go during a busy lunch rush to truly see if their service had gotten better though. The girl at the counter seemed a little over-zealous, but that could have had something to do with the fact that her manager was sitting in one of the booths doing work on a laptop.

                              All-in-all, this isn't a place that I will rush back to to have a burger. It's not terrible, but it doesn't do anything that a million other places can't do. For what you pay, and what you get, I'd much rather go to a wide variety of pubs & restaurants that would offer up better fare. I'd actually go to Fatburger just down the street and pay a little bit more for a better burger over this place if I'm ever in the area and craving a burger.

                            2. I had finally went there on the weekend and loved every bit of it. I had the Calgary burger and loved everything on it. I don't think one flavor dominated more than the other. The only thing I wish they had changed on my burger was that it needed more dijon mustard. And the YAM FRIES. And we get them covered with rosemary and garlic, This has to be one of the biggest reasons why I'll go back. Love the burger, love the fries. The limited selection at five guys is most likely what speeds up the service of the place. With the amount of options and choices they offer at Smashburger, I think I can off an extra 5 minutes or so of waiting.

                              1. Zydeco_mama and I made it to Smashburger and thought both our burgers were quite good. I had the Calgary burger and ZM had the Baja burger. I felt there was a good balance of flavors and the onions did not overpower. ZM's was sloppy and lost 1/4 of the guacamole upon picking it up. Once we got our correct order of fries (Smashfries), we found them to be quite good also.

                                Where we got put off was the service we received. We got to the till to order and the clerk did not hear my wife's burger order and ordered Sweet Potato Smashfries rather than the requested Smashfries. When we noticed, ZM went back to the till to have this corrected and had to point out there was a price differential, which took 4 staff members and the manager to produce the refund. The staff member told the kitchen that the order had changed. When the order arrived, it had the Sweet Potato Smashfries. We pointed this out and they were returned to the kitchen. The Smashfries we had ordered still had not arrived by the time I had finished my burger and we are sure they would have never arrived without the young lady who did our quality check having this pointed out to her. When they did arrive, it was pointed out that they had provided a double order. Nice of them, but we ordered a single order for a reason and ended up leaving 1/2 the order behind.

                                Again, the food was good, but I am uncertain if we will return.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Zydecopapa

                                  There is plans for Edmonton...anyone know when and where they will be opening?