Restaurants Bars
Entertainment Restaurants Bars

Burger review: Smashburger

Burger review: Smashburger
2031 N. Clybourn Ave. 312-800-9010
Rating: !!! (out of four)

One might call opening another burger joint a mere block away from Five Guys Burgers and Fries risky, audacious … even arrogant. Doing so would require, as they would say south of the border in Mexico where I, The Great Burgerelli, just returned from a lovely hamburger holiday, "cojones muy grandes."

That is precisely what the fine folks behind Smashburger have done with their first Chicago location, just a short walk north from Five Guys in Lincoln Park's Clybourn corridor. Though this beefy business is based in Denver and recently has opened a number of locations in the surrounding suburbs, this is the very first within Chicago city limits, otherwise known as Burgerelli territory.

The burger: One might deduce this from the name, but I will state for the record that Smashburger's black angus beef patties are pressed onto a buttered flat-top grill to create a seared edge that the staffers appropriately refer to as "meat candy." Though they are cooked through rather than grilled to your requested temperature, they remain quite juicy indeed. While some thin-patty eateries—such as Meatheads or Edzo's—stack their patties to satisfy heartier appetites, Smashburger opts to offer a larger patty instead. At nearly 1/2 pound compared to the regular 1/3 pound, the larger size isn't immediately apparent, but upon closer examination, I did see that the patty protruded out from the bun just bit more.

The bun: For a counter-service establishment, the bun selection at Smashburger is stupendous. The classic egg bun was fluffy yet firm, and the multi-grain option was not, as I feared it may be, unpleasantly grainy. And the pretzel bun, now a textbook burger offering in these parts, was as pleasing as expected. All three buns withstand a fair amount of lower bun compression under the weight of the toppings, but no visible cracks or fissures developed.

The fixings: Smashburger offers many of the toppings that are more akin to a gourmet burger bar than a fast-food facility. The Avocado Club burger ($5.99) paired freshly sliced avocado with thick slices of applewood-smoked bacon and a drizzle of ranch dressing. I don't know how the toppings on the Windy City burger ($5.99)—melted cheddar, spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato and crispy onion strings—represent Chicago exactly, but the combination was thoroughly tasty. Other accoutrements include grilled onions or mushrooms, fresh jalapenos, spicy chipotle sauce, truffle mayonnaise, guacamole or a fried egg.

The fries: Sweet potato fries ($2.49) are standard, but the signature Smashfries ($1.99) stand out for their dusting of rosemary and drizzle of olive oil, which pooled a bit at the bottom of the tray, making for a few especially delicious oil-drenched crispy potato morsels. For the especially health-conscious, Smashburger also sells veggie frites ($2.99), a side of flash-fried green beans and carrots.

Everything else: Though my love for burgers is paramount, I do have a rather soft spot for cookies and candies. Imagine my glee to behold Smashburger's selection of milkshakes ($4.29), which range from mint Oreo to Nutter Butter to my new personal favorite, Butterfinger. Though slippery hands are not ideal when holding a burger, the candy bar does make for a fine specimen of a shake.

Bottom line: Five Guys does indeed have a local following and I do admit that I adore their fries, but I would choose Smashburger time and time again if I were to find myself in the Clybourn corridor craving a burger, which, let's not be nitwitted, is always.

The Great Burgerelli is a fearless seeker of fine burgers. gburgerelli@tribune.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Who is The Great Burgerelli?

    Who is The Great Burgerelli?

    Who is the Great Burgerelli, you ask? I, the Great Burgerelli, am a fearless seeker of fine burgers. I have no patience for simple hot dogs. Chicken sandwiches bore me. And don't even get me started on Italian beef. It's only burgers for me, the Great Burgerelli! Not just any burger will do. I...

  • Chicago burger reviews

    Chicago burger reviews

    RedEye's burger reviews are written by The Great Burgerelli. Learn more about him and his noble quest to find the best burger in Chicago.

  • Chicago pizza reviews

    Chicago pizza reviews

    RedEye reviews Chicago's newest pizzerias, slice by slice.

  • 3 dead, 37 wounded in weekend shootings

    3 dead, 37 wounded in weekend shootings

    Shootings citywide left three dead and 37 wounded over the weekend, including a 5-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy who were injured in separate shootings about five minutes apart Sunday evening.

  • Byrne Interchange work: Get ready for traffic heartburn

    Byrne Interchange work: Get ready for traffic heartburn

    The heavy lifting will begin this month on the overhaul of the Byrne Interchange near downtown Chicago, leading to anticipated expressway traffic tie-ups mostly over four weekends stretching into the fall, officials will announce Monday.

  • Lolla day 3: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 3: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Somehow, Lolla’s all over already. This is what we loved and didn’t enjoy quite as much from day 3. Best: I gotta give it to Florence and the Machine. Seems like an obvious choice, but she was just so fun and engaged with the crowd (and the storms). Even her songs I wasn’t familiar with were exciting...

  • Dance all week: Porn and Chicken Monday

    Monday: Porn and Chicken Evil Olive 1551 W. Division St. 773-396-4904 $10 cover after 11 p.m. We only have one pair of shoes—dancing shoes—which means they certainly aren’t reserved for weekends only. Said shoes sent us questing after places to boogie down every night of the work week (after all,...

  • Yep, I took my dad to Lollapalooza

    I suppose I should be old enough to know by now that something doesn't become un-cool just because your parent is there.

Comments
Loading
79°