The three most common questions people ask me about “5 Napkin Burger”:
1) Why do you go to a burger place?
2) What do you eat there?
3) Why do you go there so much?
This review of “5 Napkin Burger” should pretty much answer all those questions and more. I actually resisted going to the Hell’s Kitchen establishment for a long time because I figured it was just another burger joint. Boy was I wrong. When I finally gave in a couple months back, I realized what I had been missing all along. By this point I’ve been there several times so this review will be a combination of all my visits. As for starters, they actually aren’t the best part of the meal there. The Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip is hard to mess up. It is very similar to the ones offered at countless other restaurants out there. For $10.95 though you are left wanting more. It’s a very small portion. Also it comes with french bread crostini and endive spears. The dip with the endive is not a good match at all and there aren’t a whole lot of crostinis on the plate so again the portion is not satisfactory. If I ordered it again I’d ask them to leave off the endive and instead double the crostini. Another starter I’ve had is the Stack of Cornmeal Crusted Onion Rings. The cornmeal is a great flavor combination with the onion. These rank up there with some of the best onion rings, BUT for $7.25 I hate to give the same argument, but you want more. We were at a table of four and we didn’t even get two rings a
piece. On our most recent visit we started with the Tater Tots. These weren’t like any other tots I’ve had before. They were more like a potato croquette. Kind of like fried mashed potatoes. That may sound weird, but they were actually pretty good, just not like the tater tots I was expecting. With that said I probably would skip these next time also because it’s better to save room for what’s to come.
What is lacking in the starter course is more than made up for at dinner. The veggie burger is housemade on a multi-grain roll. It is thick and moist. I’m not sure what it is made up of, but it is primarily red, so I’m betting tomatoes play a big part. Anyway once you bite in you don’t want to put it down. Of course with the 5 Napkin sauce on it, if you do put it down you have to wipe your hands after every bite. The 5 Napkin sauce seems to be just a mix of ketchup and mayo, but there is something addictive to it. I usually get an extra side of it to dip my burger in. Yes I like to make it even higher in calories and fattier than it already is. My friend Hazel who also loves this burger joint says “I’m not big into burgers, but really liked the Veggie burger. It was very flavorful and the fries are addicting. Interestingly enough though…I keep going back to 5 napkin for the Mac and Cheese! Delicious! Best Mac and Cheese I’ve ever had. Should be called “crack” and cheese. I keep going back for more!” Hazel is right the Mac and Cheese is good. Problem is the veggie burger is better so the only time I can get the Mac and Cheese is when someone is there that wants to split both dishes with me. That is perfection!!! Of course a burger place has to have good fries and 5 Napkin doesn’t disappoint. A couple of my friends think they are a tad too salty, but since as a Chef I’m trained to love salt, I think they are perfectly seasoned and just thick enough.
The burger makes you so full you feel like you are going to burst. Problem is
dessert is soooo good you just have to order it. I can’t exactly say I’ve tried a whole lot of their desserts though because the first time I was there I ordered the Smores shake and I’ve been
hooked every since. I had never had a Smores shake before so first off I applaud them on the originality. Second of all I was blown away when the shake came out with toasted marshmallow on top. This is the second best shake I’ve ever had in my life (the first best is a butterscotch shake at Strip Burger in Vegas). The shake just has the best blend of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow. I try my best to finish the whole shake, but it’s hard because there’s only so much room in my belly. My husband gets the Caramel Latte shake and he loves that almost as much as I love my Smores shake saying “The Caramel Shake is so good, you forget how full you are from the great burger and fries you’ve just had and you slurp it down like a guy on
Death Row, having a final snack.” This past weekend when we went, our friend Sophie stuck with the good old standard chocolate shake, and her fiance Frank got his fav flavor, strawberry. He added the toasted marshmallow on top though and declared it a hit! So yes this restaurant ranks high as far shakes are concerned. Combine that with everything else and my friend Jen Suzara pretty much sums it up “Burger, fries and a milkshake — what more could you ask for? 5 Napkin gives the NYC touch to a classic favorite!” Yep so that pretty much answers the questions I started with at the beginning of this story. 5 Napkin is now a spot we hit at least once every couple of weeks. Hmmm no wonder I’ve put on a couple pounds since we started going there. Ha! What’s weird is even though I’m sure to order the same things every time, somehow it just doesn’t get boring!
5 Napkin Burger is located at 630 Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen between 44th and 45th Street.