What do you call a cow without legs?
I love those kind of jokes. If you’ve got any, send them my way.
Anyway, this past Saturday, I met up with some friends at Five Napkin Burger. What a weird name. Apparently their burgers are too dangerously juicy for just one napkin. Well, why not call it Ten Napkin? It’s missing an ‘s’ too. Either way, the burger definitely wasn’t juicy enough to soak the surface of even one napkin, but it was still delicious all the same. And I say this with a damn serious face. Others at the table will tell you that it’s the hard cider talking, but I tell you.
That burger was damn delicious. And those onion rings? Ohhh mother. I feel my knees trembling.
Stack Of Cornmeal Crusted Onion Rings ($7.25)
To rewind, we met up at 12:30 for brunch. Amit was late, which upon hindsight, was a great thing. Somehow the manager thought we were waiting forever for a table (but we were only waiting for Amit) so he comped us THREE appetizers! Sam was giving his order to the waitress- “Um… I’d like some onion rings” [BOOM, onion rings appear!]. And we all know that in his head he was thinking about the Spinach Artichoke Dip and Pork Taquitos because he did ask whether we’d be interested. Then somehow the other two magically appeared. We were so confused until the runner said, “COMPLIMENTARY!”
A bit of background on Five Napkin. The owners originally opened Nice Matin on the Upper West Side where they featured the “5 napkin burger” (named after its juiciness, of course). Apparently it was so popular that they started a new restaurant and named it after that burger. I feel so… unworthy now. Nobody would ever do that for me.
The place serves a ton of beers (totaling 50 for bottles and draft, of which I believe I saw six-ish?), 100 wines, and 10 specialty cocktails. It’s a bit classier than their stated “casual” and it’s probably because of the location.
The pricing is… eh. It’s a splurge considering you’re eating burgers. The appetizers aren’t that impressive. I mean, the spinach artichoke dip was really delicious but they only give you like 5 pieces of the bread crostini which in other words, is left over bread from the night before glamorized in a toaster oven. At least they do give you a few Belgian Endives but unless if you like the bitter leaves, they’re only there for garnish.
Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip endive spears & french bread crostini ($10.75)
Pork Taquitos queso fresco, sour cream & salsa ($8.75)
I could have cared less for the pork taquitos (they were cold!) but the onion rings were fantastic. However, I have yet to have met an onion ring that has been sub par to my expectations. Onion, meet egg wash. Egg wash, meet cornmeal. Cornmeal, meet oil. It’s a match made in heaven.
Before you come here, do your homework. There are like eight different burger options to choose from and unless if you have something against bacon, cheese, or caramelized onions you’re going to have a tough time choosing. Eventually I settled with the “Original Five Napkin.” Surprisingly, I was the only one despite this being their signature burger.
So looking back, I think to myself, dang, a $14.95 burger is pretty darn expensive. But then I think about how delicious it tasted. When the burger arrived, my jaw dropped. THERE WAS SO MUCH CHEESE! Then I take a bite. Hm… It’s so creamy. Wait- that’s not cheese… that’s… aioli?!?! You’d think I would have been disgusted but it was just so delicious. I ordered my burger medium rare and it came slightly pink. The burger was just juicy enough and surprisingly, it didn’t soak up the bun at all. But the caramelized onions. That was what did it. And then the gruyere cheese. I have to stop thinking about this right now.
The thing was too big for me to finish. So I packed half of it away. The next day, I heated it up for lunch and THE BREAD STILL WASN’T SOGGY!!
By the way, aioli is a mixture of garlic and olive oil, but in this case, it resembled a runnier version of mayo.
Now the fries. They give you a decent amount. If you aren’t a fan of soft shoe string fries, this isn’t your cup of tea. Me? I love that. However, it could have done well with less salt.
Italian Turkey Burger melted mozzarella, spicy tomato sauce, vinegar peppers, sesame egg roll ($12.95)
5 Napkin Veggie Burger housemade with 5n sauce, b&b pickles, lettuce & tomato, multi grain roll ($11.95)
Looks less glamorous upon assembling.
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich hot sauce, creamy roquefort dressing, tomatoes & bacon ($12.95)
Brunch wouldn’t be brunch without dessert. We ended up splitting their Espresso Brownie Sundae six ways, which equates to roughly 3 spoonfuls each, with the 1st spoon being whipped cream, the 2nd ice cream and the 3rd brownie. But in all seriousness, this is worth the $7.50. The salted peanuts? Oh man, heavenly!!
Espresso Brownie Sundae vanilla ice cream, espresso caramel, whipped cream & salted peanuts ($7.50)
There aren’t many places that I’d come back to, but this is one of them, and it’s not because the manager comped us. The ambiance is great; there are tons of windows and the selection of draft beer is a gigantic plus. Any place that can serve a burger without making the bun soggy has reeled in my stomach.