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Smash Burger Culver City

nosh Jan 18, 2013 08:23 PM

Went today for lunch. Mixed Feelings. Parking lot (next to CPK, west of Overland south side of Venice) crowded. Line to order. Much longer wait (they give you a beeper -- mine didn't go off, I would have waited if i didn't recognize the party before me getting theirs and go up on my own). I ordered a double-size bbq-bacon-cheddar which had onion strings -- $6.99. Burger was smaller than I expected for a "double" at that price, maybe a quarter-pound. It was indeed tasty, the smashing process made for a good sear char, so the burger had a lot of crusty goodness. I liked the bun and the generous onion haystack strings. But I could only find a seat on the patio, and the sun made it hot. Simple french fries ($1.99) and fountain drinks ($1.99) were on the expensive side so I settled for water. I am signing up for their online offers, and would go back -- non-rush times -- for a 2-for-1 burger or free side or milkshake. But at twice the price and so much more time, a double-double at In'&'Out or a bigger burger at Hole-In-the-Wall or The Shack will rank higher on my rotation.

Note-- Moderators, I know Smash Burger is a chain. But it is brand new to L.A. My review is very focused on this one new location, and i beg you to keep this on the L.A. board.

  1. d
    danbob Feb 6, 2013 09:45 PM

    I'm in Colorado where Smashburger started. It's a good burger, but not great. Larkburger here is FAR better at similar high prices. I've heard others rave about Smashburger, and I wondered if I was just being too picky. But then I saw all the news about their massive franchise expansion in the US and overseas, and that's not a good sign. I'd rather see a better burger first. What's wrong? Nothing really. Just not a intense beefy taste, the smash technique seems to always overshoot my preferred medium rare, and their topping / sauce combos fall flat for me.

    1. m
      malibumike Feb 3, 2013 09:49 AM

      Just went to the Smashburger in Thousand Oaks CA with a 2 for 1 coupon. Got a classic double cheeseburger and it was excellent, but almost twice the price of an in-n-out double double so I wont go back unless I get another coupon.

      1. l
        linsue Feb 2, 2013 07:36 AM

        I live in the suburbs of New York and have gone to Smashburger on occasion. The burger is pretty good, the onion strings are great though greasy( But worth the fat and calories). My husband likes the sweet potato fries and the shake is good. Expensive for a restaurant that is just a high scale fast food joint.

        1. l
          LikestoEatout Jan 30, 2013 05:27 AM

          We have had Smashburger in Northern Illinois for a few years now. We tried it several times but decided it's way to salty for our taste. There is a Chicago area min chain called Tom and Eddies that is much better, better options and a much better physical layout.


          1. juliejulez Jan 29, 2013 12:38 PM

            My SO raved about them, we are in CO where Smashburger originated. We went there and I thought it was just so-so. I didn't see what the big deal was and it's not something I crave.

            We have another local chain, Larkburger (www.larkburger.com), that is turning out way better burgers for similar prices. Rumor has it they're working on expanding to other areas too.

            1. l
              locanda Jan 27, 2013 05:52 AM

              I've now been to the Culver City location twice. 1st time, had one of the double burgers, veg frites, and a strawberry malt. The 2 patties was not particularly a big hamburger, and was somewhat dry & overcooked. Good flavor to the meat, much like cooking ground beef at home in a skillet with butter. Overall, though, a bland tasting burger. Veg, supposedly "flash fried" was extremely oily, but the vegetables were crisp, colorful and otherwise tasty. Malt was well-blended, but the malt was way off-balance - far too sweet and with a chemical aftertaste. Expensive malt at $4.49 to be so unsatisfying.

              Tonight (Saturday), I used a coupon and sampled 2 of the SmashChicken sandwiches, the Avocado Club and the Fresh Mex. Long wait just to order, with 1 person on the register, and the inside of the restaurant was quite full. The chicken was fine, the sandwiches attractive. Again, not much to the overall taste - things just seem to blend together with little distinct flavor. I did not appreciate that the avocado was hard, under-ripe and tasteless. It should have been obvious to anyone cutting those and they should not have found there way into a meal. Most fast food restaurants I've gone to have no problem supplying a ripe avocado.

              I don't intend to go back.

              1. olyolyy Jan 21, 2013 12:03 PM

                I would not consider $1.99 to be "expensive" for french fries.

                1. m
                  MonMauler Jan 21, 2013 01:07 AM

                  Never been to a smashburger. That said, your opinions seem much more related to the atmosphere than the food.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MonMauler
                    NorthEncantoGirl Jan 21, 2013 11:22 AM

                    I like the ones in San Diego--although you're right, when you add up fries and a drink, you're in the 11-12 dollar range, which, for a place like this, pushes the edge of value for me.

                    Here in SD, we have some good local options at that price point, like Burger Lounge.

                    1. re: MonMauler
                      EWSflash Jan 28, 2013 06:05 PM

                      I went to the new Tucson Smashburger with two friends from work last Thursday. It was crowded as hell and very badly laid out, I thought they didn't use the space well. You had to stand in line to order and basically help form a wall around several table of diners, so you can't help staring at their food some. Then you had to mill around while waiting for your food. An unintentional voyeuristic experience
                      The line led to a bunch of people milling about, looking to play musical chairs with the tables. There were several tables outside, but it was raining, which throws everybody for a loop here anyway. I felt like I was crashing somebody's party, trying to sneak some food, which is absurd since we ordered and paid for it.
                      The fries were at best, average, but that's a very subjective thing so I won't go there right now. My burger was tasty, but it skeeved me out to see the grease dripping out of the back end. It was almost running out in a stream, I don't think that's necessary, or even acceptable.
                      I probably won't be back any time soon. If I do I may order something else. We have a few good local burgers within a mile of work. And I won't eat there if it's the mob scene we experienced there last Thursday.

                    2. o
                      oldusedcop Jan 19, 2013 10:34 AM

                      They opened at 4 pm, Dec. 30. We were there for lunch the next day. They were friendly and attentive, even hovering, which wasn't bad since we also had the problem with the beeper. The staff noticed we were without food and checked immediately.

                      I have no idea why they chose Culver City over someplace a little more central to LA.

                      We've eaten at the Smashburger in the dining wilderness of Boise, ID. Culver City is better, both were good. After all, this is a $5-6 hamburger joint, not Mortons. The fries were underseasoned, but still good.

                      We'll go back whenever we're south of Washington Blvd.

                      1. a
                        AndrewF Jan 18, 2013 10:31 PM

                        I was a bit underwhelmed when I stopped in a couple weeks ago. Classic Smash Burger was good, if unremarkable. The haystack onions were way too salty and the shoestring fries didn't grab me (and they, too, were salty). There are just too many better options that I can't put this into the rotation.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: AndrewF
                          New Trial Jan 19, 2013 02:32 AM

                          I was there last week and had a somewhat opposite experience: the burger was tatsy but also tasted over-salted while the smashfries were shy on seasoning (especially the promised garlic and herbs). Worth another try once they settle in but there are better burgers around.

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