Saturday, June 21, 2008

Five Napkin Burger Lives Up to it's Name (in Some Regards)

So because of all the buzz surrounding the new Five Napkin Burger (and by buzz I mean an ad on the Captivate screen in the elevator at my office, a homepage spot on and yes, even a hit for a blog about it after a search for "NYC Restaurants") I decided to head over to Hell's Kitchen tonight and check it out for myself. It wasn't hard to spot. The all-American bar and grill, right on the corner of 9th and 45th, was all dazzled up with fancified meat hooks danging from the ceiling. After waiting for about 20 minutes, Rob and I were ushered into a booth right by a window. We both ordered burgers, even though they offer an impressive (yet decidedly unAmerican) selection of maki rolls. I tried the original 5 Napkin Burger, a full 10 ounces of lean beef topped with Comte cheese, smothered in caramelized onions and doused in rosemary aioli. When I say lean beef I mean it -- it's lean to the point of almost crumbly, and you'll be hard-pressed to find any big grease splotches. While leaner is certainly good (read: healthy), I missed the satisfaction of the juicier bites. Luckily, the abundance of rosemary aioli helped lessen the pain (but did I mention they only gave me one napkin?). Rob's Ahi Tuna Burger sounded exciting —- ginger, scallions, soy, wasabi mayo, and tempura fried onions -- but turned out to be a letdown. For me, the wasabi mayo was far too overpowering, but he was more disappointed that the actual tuna was on the dry side as a result of it being overcooked (and he ordered it rare). Luckily, the fries were a saving grace -- thin, golden brown, perfectly salted. They came free with the meal, which I guess isn't really saying much as each burger is $15. Yes, $15!! Now I definitely don't regret going, but at this price I just don't think I'll be back. Especially with all that mayo making up for the lack of natural juice. When you're swapping fat for fat, I'd rather get more of the good stuff.

Below: Five Napkin Burger restaurant, Ahi Tuna Burger, Original Five Napkin Burger.

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