Where’s the beef at Smashburger and BurgerFi? Under all the toppings

09/27/2012 12:00 AM

09/25/2012 3:14 PM

Gourmet burger joints BurgerFi and Smashburger recently opened their first outposts in North Miami-Dade, dishing up beef patties, pile-it-on toppings, shakes and top-notch fries.

While they offer different twists, they have this in common: No dollar menu here. In fact, a burger, fries and a shake can cost up to 15 bucks.

BurgerFi,in Aventura, sticks with a small menu of hamburgers and hot dogs with lots of toppings and sizes. The star of the show: a brisket of beef double burger smothered in Swiss, bleu and “secret sauce” (mayo with undisclosed enhancements). “Beefy!” exclaimed our family’s burger teen queen.

If you’re not into beefy, BurgerFi has a decent if bland quinoa burger topped with lettuce, tomato and white Cheddar. And any burger can be wrapped “green” with lettuce.

Free toppings include pickles, grilled onions, barbecue sauce. Premium toppings for $1 each include organic ketchup and a sunny side-up egg.

And if fries buried in parm powder and herbs doesn’t do it for you, perhaps the doughnut-sized onion rings are your burger buddies.

BurgerFi offers a New York hot dog with kraut; a Chicago with cucumber, tomatoes and celery salt; a Texas with chili, cheese and hot sauce. Note to chef: A little less time on the grill for the dogs and an absorbent towel for the rings.

Need a cool-down after the heat? Sip a mocha shake or dig into a concrete custard (a little bit of Shake Shack).

At Smashburger in North Miami, the kitchen starts with a meatball and flattens it on the grill. The menu also offers salads, chicken sandwiches and some pretty creative sides (sweet potato fries, flavorful chili brimming with beef, veggie frites). Then there are the fried pickles, savory cukes covered with KFC-like coating.

Pick a bun (egg, spicy chipotle, Cuban roll) and toppings and you are on your way. Smash Burger also feels like Miami with its Miami burger (grilled chorizo and frites) and a Miami Heat salad (greens, mango, papaya salsa, frites). A black bean burger suffers from too much salt.

Like BurgerFi, the focus is on the Angus beef. But with so many toppings, sides and shakes, the burgers get a little buried.

BurgerFi, 18139 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura (also in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Fort Lauderdale); 305-466-0350; hot dogs $3.47-$4.27; quinoa burger $6.77; hamburgers $5.47-$9.97; fries $2.77; onion rings $3.77; shakes $4.47; concretes $5.57.

Smashburger, 14730 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami (also in Pembroke Pines and Kendall); 786-406-6614; hamburgers $4.99-$6.99; sides $1.99-$2.99; salads $4.99; shakes $3.99-$4.29; hot dogs $3.99

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