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December 17-30, 2010 GAY SAN DIEGO

Smashburger HHH

7610 Hazard Center Drive (Mission Valley)

(619) 684-1550

PRICES: Salads and sides, $1.69 to $7; burgers, hotdogs and chicken sand- wiches, $3.79 to $6.99

Frank Sabatini Jr.

mashburger in the Hazard Center had only been open two weeks when I first ducked in for a fast, convenient meal. For the chain’s arrival in San Diego I left behind the pen and note- book, as even corporate eateries with an established modus operandi aren’t always ready for prime time the month after open- ing a new location.


The Denver-based franchise is named after the method in which it grills its burgers, hot dogs and chicken filets. Metal plates are placed briefly on top of the meats as they sizzle on flat griddles to supposedly “seal in their flavors.” In the world of burger-making, some chefs would argue to never press down on beef patties as they brown, if only because pre- cious juices are forced out. At the famous Hodad’s in Ocean Beach, for instance, the compress-and- cook maneuver is a big no-no. Admittedly, in the three visits

I’ve now made to Smashburger, the patties retained most of their juices. But their exteriors were crispy and caramelized, an outcome better reserved for ribs and steaks. With ground beef, the singe translated to a harsh fried flavor that I found overpowering, such as when chomping into the “all-American” topped with basic condiments and pickles. It was somewhat quelled, however, by a zesty secret sauce included on the “classic Smashburger” that I tried later. Other burger choices include

“mushroom-Swiss,” the “spicy Baja” (studded with fresh jalape- nos) and the feisty “San Diego,” which features avocado, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, chipotle mayo and pepper Jack cheese. In a string of mistaken orders that I’ve encountered in every visit, the latter was the only accident that I didn’t send back. It was too appealing and perfectly spicy to give up. The “Smashfries” have become my main reason for re- turning. Served in wire pedestals, the thin-cut spuds are clean and delicate and take on a sophisticat- ed twist from olive oil, rosemary and a touch of garlic. So good on their own, you can (and should) polish them off without a squeeze of ketchup. Smashburger’s Chicago

dogs are topped with sport peppers, chopped tomatoes and sweet relish. They’re served on

see Burger, pg 20

The San Diego burger with skinny O-rings at Smashburger. (Frank Sabatini Jr./GSD)

A San Diego Landmark Since 1944 Quality Home Cooking

Featuring bottomless Mimosa's 6.95!

H=Poor HH=Mediocre HHH=Good HHHH=Exceptional


As Seen on TV!

Restaurant & Bakery Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner

$2.00 OFF Any Menu Entree

Up to 2 people minimum $8 Entree. Not valid with other offers, weekends, or holidays. Expires 01/07/11

Open Daily: 7am-9pm

2271 First Avenue (Corner of 1st & Juniper) • (619) 239-8176

Newest Sports Bar in San Diego by Padre legend

Located in Mission Valley’s

Hazard Center (formerly Trophy’s)

The SDSU Aztec Fans’ Game Day Headquarters (Ample free parking in easy to reach Hazard Center)

Bring this in & receive one free desert with each entree purchased.

FREE Desert

Affordable all-american cuisine, from burgers, bbq and salads to steaks and seafood. All new Hi-Def projection screen and flat

screens to watch all your favorite games. Specializing in local and craft beers. Lunch and dinner served 7 days a week.

Not valid with any other offer or discount. Expires: 1/31/11. MVN 1210 . • 619.296.9600 • 7510 Hazard Center Dr., Mission Valley

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