I recovered a coupon that was buried under a mountainous stack of junk mail—$3.99 for a Smash-Salad (that is, from Smashburger). The timing couldn’t have been better, because I had out-carbed myself in yet another week during which the munchies ruled my diet.
There are six to choose from, all normally $5.99, and for $2 more you can add grilled or crispy chicken strips. I went for the Baja Cobb and, needless to say, opted for the crispy chicken topping. What?! The rest of the salad was low-carb!
I noticed several bowls on the tables around me during a busy lunch at the Downtown location—a promising sign. After about 10 minutes, mine arrived in the signature red bowl that proved deeper than I thought and ended up being the perfect amount.
A note for the not-so-manly of palates: This salad is spicy. A mix of arugula, baby spinach and chopped romaine is dressed with a creamy chipotle dressing that’s not obnoxious or overpowering despite its robust, smoked jalapeño base. Bits of crunchy, Applewood-smoked bacon provided a salty contrast to the rich dressing, and thin, tender strips of chicken with crisp, simply seasoned breading didn’t require a knife for cutting. Then again, I chose to stab each long piece with my fork, eating it tip to end like a kid would.
It also comes with a nice portion of “guacamole” on top—which was more like an avocado purée—and its creaminess helped extinguish some of the dish’s heat. Next time, I’d opt to hold the jalapeños, which come sliced, raw and with their seeds. The little shits were camouflaged, and chomping into one was like hitting a land mine in an otherwise pleasant leafy-green escapade.
In order for me to willingly substitute a salad for a hearty meal, it’s got to be full of dynamic flavors and textures; the Baja Cobb was just that—crisp and cold with hot toppings and flavorful additions, including sweet red onion and shredded cheddar cheese. On your next visit, perhaps at the new Hillcrest location, be sure to ask for a coupon for next time—Smash-attendants seem to be handing ’em out in stacks.