Sunday, June 19, 2016

Smashburger - Rockville Food Review

Spicy Cowboy Burger

Finally... a perfect Smashburger. Comfort? No more immovable seats (a deal breaker at other locations) and plenty of room to move around. Food? It's always been good; but on this particular visit... out-of-this-world. Service? Fast, professional and super-friendly. It's not close (Rockville Pike, around the corner from Twinbrook Metro) but some places are worth traveling an extra mile... or in my case, just over 10.

Who's crazy enough to travel 10 miles for a burger? Duh. Me, of course. Especially for Smashburger's unique smashing process, which propels its burgers to first-rate status... especially in the fast food stratosphere. Truth be told, I initially had chicken on the brain; but one peak at the placard advertising the limited-time Spicy Cowboy Burger ($6.79) and I was hooked. Applewood smoked bacon, grilled garlic jalapeƱos, haystacks onions and BBQ sauce on an egg roll (sans the standard cheddar.) It's enough to make a man give up chicken forever.


Ordering was a breeze (as usual) thanks to William, a most capable frontman. I asked for no cheese, then pressed on with a special request for tomatoes. No confusion. No problem. Courtesy cup of water? Done. In & out in just over a minute. Back to the water for a sec: Kudos for offering both still and soda. Seating, as mentioned above, was miles better than Bethesda (and formerly Dupont Circle.) The seats actually moved, allowing easy access for anyone over 100 lbs. The entire space (this location opened two months ago) was spotless, and easily accommodated a Saturday night rush without people standing on top of each other. Roominess = good. Squashed = bad.

My order arrived quickly, and with a smile. The manager worked the pass with laser precision, and presented each plate to each table (and carry-out customer) with pride. Keep in mind, we're talking about burgers & fries. Looking back, he had every reason to be proud. The Spicy Cowboy Burger looked amazing, and tasted even better. The jalapeƱos (yes, they're hot) and onion straws provided plenty of crunch; and the bacon, just the right amount of saltiness. The egg roll stayed in tact throughout, despite a myriad of toppings; and Smashburger's signature barbecue sauce gave it one extra kick, befitting a "Spicy Cowboy." The meat (fresh Certified Angus Beef) was juicy and well-seasoned. All-in-all, a terrific burger.

As for the fries, I don't think I've ever had a bad batch. They're still oily (never fear, each table has loads of napkins at the ready) but they're crisp, thin and bursting with flavor (garlic, rosemary.) Always get the large ($3.59, $1.10 more than the regular) and don't be afraid to add an order of Haystack Onions or Fried Pickles as well. One of those rare occasions, when less isn't more. Needless to say, I love 'em.

Can't say enough good things about my first visit to Rockville's Smashburger. I can only hope a return to the District is in the cards (Cleveland Park is still available: Talk about a match made in Heaven.) Until then, I'm happy to travel the extra mile(s.)

Atmosphere: A (Spotless, well-lit and plenty of room.)
Burger: A- (Limited time? The Spicy Cowboy has to become a permanent fixture.)
Fries: A- (They're oily, but delicious.)
Service: A (Two months in, and they're still kicking a@#.)
Value: B ($11 even, including tax for a burger & fries. But it's well worth it.)
Overall: A- (My only complaint... it's not in my neighborhood.)