Upper West Side review #1: Five Napkin Burger!

I can recall a television commercial from my youth talking about beef: it’s what’s for dinner. As delicious as this sounds, it doesn’t really apply after having consumed two hamburgers in the previous six days. Therefore I felt understandably conflicted when my friend suggested having dinner at 5 napkin burger:

Five Napkin Burger
2315 Broadway Avenue between 84th and 85th street
New York, NY
4 stars out of 5 stars

     I’ve heard good things about the hamburger here as long as I’ve been obsessed with them and wanted to try it for myself.  However, the rational part of my brain reminded me that this was not smart. As you probably guessed from the title, I ended up going and everything turned out well.  I’m an avid fan of doing plenty of research before going to a new restaurant. I started out on menu pages to review the menu, followed by “googling” 5 napkin burger and reading several reviews including my favorite hamburger website called A Hamburger Today:
http://aht.seriouseats.com/

 It would seem as though I was trying to find an excuse to order the original beef hamburger, but honestly I couldn’t find one: the patty is made entirely out of beef chuck which is one of the lowest quality and possibly most fatty types of beef, the hamburger is ten ounces and many of the reviews state that this is way too thick.

     When I arrived at the restaurant, it seemed quite crowded for a Thursday night, but we were seated almost immediately. The noise level was quite high which made conversation difficult and I found that the tables were pushed too close together for my taste. One of the things which I liked about their hamburger, in theory, was that it’s topped with caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. My first thought was to order a grilled chicken sandwich with the same toppings; however, I was informed that they only serve breaded chicken so I had to quickly think of a somewhat healthy alternative. What was my decision? I even surprised myself when I ordered a turkey burger! The Italian turkey burger comes with mozzarella cheese and spicy tomato sauce, but I asked for it with no sauce, extra caramelized onions, and sweet potato fries! I tried a few cornmeal crusted onion rings before the meal came out: they were tasty though not particularly creative. The outside of the rings were crisp with a thick batter and the sweet onions on the inside blended well with the crust. When I pictured these in my head, I predicted exactly what they would taste like which is not a bad thing; they were good but I wasn’t particularly impressed.

     When my turkey burger arrived, I discovered that it was missing the sweet potato fries and the cheese was not melted at all. When our waitress returned with the correct order, everything was much better: I bit into a complex turkey burger which blended the turkey with seasoning, bread crumbs, and some mysterious green ingredient. The stringy mozzarella cheese and sweet caramelized onions were the perfect toppings and complimented the burger very well. The sweet potato fries were also excellent: they were medium cut, well salted, and crispy. I generally prefer this type of fries on the thick side to show that there are actually sweet potatoes inside which is something that I could detect from these. My friend ordered macaroni and cheese which both of us found to be excellent: the pasta which she described as orichietti (little ears) were drenched in a seasoned combination of cheeses and baked in a casserole with a crouton topping until crispy. Both of us were very happy with our meals which left only one problem: where do we go for dessert?

(To be continued, cliff hanger!) Stay tuned to find out what happened next, until then: stay classy!
Dan

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