Can a burger joint offer a chicken sandwich that's as good or better than its hamburgers? Dare to dream, you say. Burger King's chicken sandwiches have the texture of sponges and are way over-salted, and the jury's still out whether McDonald's actually uses actual chicken in its sandwiches.
Well, at least let's do some cursory research first.
As far as small-chain burger joints go, Smashburger is not the best, but historically their beef products (at least in my experience) are very good. And given the wide range of types of chicken sandwiches, this menu item doesn't seem to be just an afterthought designed to appease a non-red meat eater dragged to the restaurant by her bovine-loving posse of friends.
Their "Smashchicken" varietals available include Truffle Mushroom Swiss; Avocado Club; BBQ Bacon Cheddar; Spicy Jalapeno Baja; Spinach, Cumber & Goat; Create-Your-Own.
With all chicken sandwiches, there is a choice of preparation (grilled or crispy) and bun (classic egg, spicy chipotle, gluten-free, multi-grain). Unlike in the case of their burgers, Smashchicken sandwiches come in only one size.
All of those combinations sounded and certainly looked (see pictures) appetizing, but the lure of choosing my own toppings ultimately won out.
Crispy Chicken Breast plus Lettuce plus Tomato plus Swiss Cheese plus Guacamole plus Egg Bun (which, incidentally, the server described to me as "your standard white bun." Hmm.)
The sandwich did not look like the picture, hardly shocking as the appearance disparity between fast food in ads and fast food in real life has been well-documented as well as personally observed. Still, it was surprising to which the degree the chicken breast and bun were imbalanced giving rise to meat ledge/kickstand of sorts on the sandwich.
First, it should be noted there was no cheese (as requested), which left the breast's breaded landscape rather barren. Second, the server was in fact correct in his description of the egg bun as it lacked any discernible egg flavor and tasted entirely of highly processed white flour. Third, while the breast actually verged on juicy, the lack of seasoning left the white meat very bland. Combine that with the limp lettuce and tomato and guacamole devoid of spice or at least a tinge of lime, the sandwich had decent mouthfeel but absolutely no flavor.
Add Smashburger to the list of burger restaurants with piddling poultry offerings. Readers, definitely taking suggestions for exceptions to this rule.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.