This joint came highly recommended by a food reviewer and meat expert friend of mine, Nick Solares. He has waxed eloquent about the burger here many times!
It’s deceptively simple. Nick ordered it for me: Rare, simply seasoned with just salt, and seared on the plancha, with cheese melted on both sides of the bun.
I have to say, for under $8 (sans fries), this thing rivals many of our city’s great steakhouse burgers. They’re using real quality ground beef, and they certainly know how to cook it. Rare was warm to the touch in the center, but not much bleed out or drips on the plate. Impressive.
And total steal at that price point. Go give it a shot!
Smashed is a new smash burger joint on the lower east side. They just opened four days ago. My wife and I stopped by to try a few items out. We went with the classic double and the blue cheese and bacon burger.
I was blown away by the flavors and the quality. This joint uses fresh beef, and they grind their own burgers in house.
The burgers were perfect in every way. Great toast on the bun, perfect crisp on the patty, great melt on the cheeses, nicely prepared griddled onions, and a killer, unique sauce that really puts the “special” back in “special sauce,” because these days everyone is really just using thousand island dressing. That’s lame.
I preferred the classic double, since the meat really shines there. I can’t wait to go back and try their rendition of a smashed Big Mac.
And the fries? Excellent as well. But I’m looking to try their smashed potatoes on my next trip.
Kings of Kobe is a newly crowned burger and hot dog monarchy that rocks some royally special menu items.
They use high quality Schweid & Sons American Wagyu in all of their burger offerings, and their Snake River American Wagyu beef hot dogs are topped with things to make them international in scope, in addition to domestic.
For example, the Vietnamese sandwich inspired “Banh Mine” dog is topped with marinated cucumbers and carrots, cilantro and sriracha aioli to harness that banh mi flavor profile.
In fact, the hot dog products here are the best I’ve had in the city. They’re thick, delicious and satisfying.
In scanning the menu, my eyeballs instantly went to the King’s Standard burger: roasted tomato, white cheddar, pickles and cherry pepper aioli.
This baby was bursting with flavor. The roasted tomato is such an awesome substitute for ketchup. The patty was cooked perfectly. It had a nice crisp char on the outside. It was think enough to remain pink through the center, without being too thick that it becomes unwieldy to eat. My only gripe is that I wished there was one more slice of cheese on this baby, to satisfy my love for cheese-laden “roadside” style burgers.
We also tried The Queen Rules, which is topped with prosciutto, pepper jack cheese, frisee and sweet chili jam.
The sweet chili jam was similar to a relish. I generally dislike relish, but this one was tasty. I liked this burger a lot but I still prefer the King’s Standard over this one.
The battered fries are super crispy and nicely seasoned.
And of course, we tried a chocolate shake.
The full spread:
The menu is really interesting, and the prices are extremely fair for these high quality offerings. My buddy Rev told me about this place and hooked up a comped press visit for me and my wife. I am eternally grateful. My burger delivery options just went bonkers.
This is a Shake Shack / Smash Burger type of joint here in Hawaii. You can order your patties in three different sizes: 5oz (big), 7oz (bigger) and 9oz (biggest). Then you can go double on them if you want.
For my 5th burger of the trip, I went with a biggest (9oz) burger with American, jalapeños and all the fixings. Take a look:
It was slightly over medium, but not by much. I liked this burger a lot. It had a good bun (though not potato, or “King’s Hawaiian” as I might have expected), great cheese coverage, and quality toppings.
On the side we tried the tater tots, which were awesome and crispy, and the garlic fries, which were really overloaded with minced garlic.
Tourist trap? I don’t care. The food and atmosphere were awesome here. You’re right on the fucking pacific.
In fact when waves roll in hard sometimes you can get sprayed if you’re at a table on the first floor in the back by the windows. There’s a little tiki bar on the second floor, along with a Jimmy Buffet-esque singer/guitarist playing tunes.
I ordered the classic cheeseburger as my 4th burger of the trip, which came with pepperjack, lettuce, tomato, onion and special sauce on a salt and pepper bun. Really nice looking burger.
It was cooked perfectly at medium, super juicy and good cheese coverage. The soft bun added a lot of flavor with the seasoning on top. I devoured this thing!
Drinks were fun here too. I had a Maui lemonade of some sort, which was gin or rum, lemon, soda, and thyme, if I recall correctly.
This was a kiosk at the Cannery Mall food court in Maui, Hawaii.
L&L Hawaiian BBQ is a fast food type restaurant that has locations all over the place. There even used to be a location down by NYC’s South Street Seaport, but that has since closed. Anyway, this place has a take on the ramen burger, called the saimin burger, which I tried as burger #3 of the trip.
It was dry as fuck and hot as fuck, but it was a fun item to try. No cheese, just lettuce and a soy-BBQ type sauce drizzles on. I’d pass on this item unless you really need to try it.
This is pure roadside awesomeness. This little shack is an outpost for Triple L ranch, which develops 100% all natural grass fed beef.
They use a special flavoring, perhaps teriyaki, worked into the grind that gives this shit a really awesome uniqueness. My second burger of the trip was a hit. It may look overcooked, but the cheese and flavor was enough to make it work.
Check out my wife’s “grilled cheeseburger” as well. This was so gooey, buttery and toasty!