I’ve done the Smashburger thing. Overall, I found their burgers and fries unimpressive. One popped up in Niskayuna, so I checked it out. I went a different route this time. I haven’t given up my search for a great Cobb salad; I’ve just shut up about it for the most part.
The Cobb salad at Smashburger is advertised as “Fresh greens, blue cheese, sharp cheddar, fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes & onion with buttermilk ranch dressing. Choice to add tender marinated grilled or crispy chicken.” The only thing missing is avocado, and they’ve taken the liberty to add cheddar cheese, which is usually unobtrusive enough, so I figured it might be a decent version.
To start, I ordered their veggie frittes (Fresh green beans & carrot strips, flash fried).
These were ok. They basically throw the veggies in a fryer basket and deep fry them for a few seconds, then liberally salt them when they’re done. On the surface, it’s supposed to be a healthier alternative to French or sweet potato fries, but they’re pretty oily,. and they’re served with a pretty heavy buttermilk ranch dressing. Healthy is a very relative term. I liked these, but didn’t love the $4 price tag. It’s fine, though; I tried.
As soon as I saw this, I realized I was going to be sick of their buttermilk ranch dressing. the same buttermilk ranch dressing that came with the fried veggies; they provided about 3/4 of a cup just for the salad.
There were a couple of other troubling details.
Under the toppings, which I totally understand are the entire point of this “salad,” there was about 1 cup of spring mix greens. And when I say 1 cup, I don’t even mean a packed out cup. I mean, as much lettuce as you can get in a cup without pressing it in, fluffed out. With the hot egg and chicken on top, it wilted it down to almost nothing. They serve it in a big fancy bowl to make it appear larger than it is.
There was more cheddar than blue cheese, and it was a really flavorless cheddar that didn’t add anything here. The chicken was very well done, probably because they’re obsessed with smashing everything. But the real unfortunate thing was the fried egg. I think they smashed that too; it was a plank of rubber, sliced into thin strips that were almost visually and texturally indistinguishable from the chicken.
I only ended up using about half of one of the cups of buttermilk ranch they provided, and that’s not a great dressing for this salad. With all of the rich components, it needs something a little more acidic and less creamy.
Everything else about it was fine.
Looking up, I noticed an interesting decoration, and I’m going to call it “parallel thought,” as I am not a patent lawyer, nor do I care to be one.
According to Wikipedia, Smashburger is a national chain with over 300 locations. We have a few in the area: 4 to be exact (Niskayuna, Wolf Road – Albany, Clifton Park, and Saratoga). We also have a restaurant called Juicy Burger which has 2 locations locally and uses a strikingly similar logo. The pattern and font above are used in all of Smashburger’s marketing online and in the restaurant; I just thought it was a strange coincidence.