Spicy Baja

Spicy Baja Burger at Smashburger
Smashburger has exploded onto the already crowded Vegas burger scene, and rightfully so. These burgers taste fresh and are decidedly not fancy. Their cow is never frozen and their method is to slap a third- or half-pound ball of meat on the grill and "smash, sear and season" it right then. The result is a non-uniform shape, juicy texture and a nice griddle-char on the outside. It's quite pleasant. The franchise goes the extra mile by adding a customized burger to the menu in each different city where it opens. The Sin City Smashburger will have to be reviewed at a later date.

The Spicy Baja adds a flavorful, Tex-Mex accent to an already solid burger. Your meat is dressed in melted pepper jack cheese and mounted on a "chiptole bun," with guacamole, tomato, lettuce, chipotle menu and fresh jalapenos riding shotgun. The only spicy in this equation comes from those bright green discs, and that's plenty. My baby bro couldn't take the jalapeno heat and was wishing for the pickled version, but as usual, he's way off base. The veggies are fresh, the mayo is virtually undetectable, the guac cools things off and provides a textural counterpoint, and the cheese-and-meat combo is just right.

Some people consider Smashburger a fast-food franchise and don't think it belongs in the conversation of Vegas' best burgers. It's a casual joint, with service akin to Fatburger, so call it fast food if you want to but the stuff is good. And so far, the Spicy Baja is my favorite sandwich on the menu.

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