Our favourite thing to do when in New York City is to hunt down the city’s best burger joints and as long time readers will already have noticed, we’ve recently reviewed a few of them on the site. However, we decided to keep the best until last. This, burger fanatics, is the Five Napkin burger – our favourite burger in New York City.
Prior to our most recent visit to the Big Apple, Five Napkin was the one burger joint we had never gotten around to trying out. After hearing nothing but positive things about their signature burger, it was the first place on our hit list when we landed after our ten hour flight.
Located deep in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, the first thing that we noticed about Five Napkin was that it was LOUD! No, there wasn’t any music playing, the restaurant was simply that busy – so busy infact, that we were a little worried that we wouldn’t get seated and after such a long (and bumpy) flight, it was quite possibly the worst thing that could have happened at that moment. Fortunately, we were in luck and managed to grab one of the last remaining tables. We quickly ordered a couple of beers and got straight to the burger menu.
I opted for the ‘Original 5 Napkin’ burger and Pamela decided on the ‘Avocado Ranch’. The Original 5 Napkin consists of a 10 oz. fresh ground beef patty topped with gruyere cheese, caramelised onions and rosemary aioli on a brioche bun. I don’t know if it was because of the ten hour flight or because it was just that good, but when I took my first bite, I wanted to drop to my knees and praise the burger gods – this is burger perfection. I had asked for the patty to be cooked medium-rare and it was right on the money. Pink in the middle and so juicy and messy that it’s simply impossible to eat it without looking like a complete savage. Taste-wise, the patty was delicious and delivered a rich, lingering flavour that stuck around long after my last bite. The juice from the meat, melted gruyere, caramelised onions and aioli combined to create a river that continued to spill out and on to the plate with every bite. If there hadn’t been other people in the restaurant, I’d have probably licked my plate clean. The brioche was tasty, yet understated. It wasn’t too big, but held the contents together perfectly and didn’t break apart.
The Avocado Ranch consisted of another 10 oz patty topped with pepper jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing on a sesame brioche bun. Like the original burger, this was another home run, although I did find the ranch dressing a little overpowering to the point that it drowned out the flavour of the patty a little. The ranch itself was delicious and adds a creamy cool flavour to the burger. If that is your thing, you’ll love this burger. I like my burgers with a little more of a deep, meaty flavour, which is why I preferred the Original 5 Napkin over this one. For people who prefer a milder flavour, you can’t go wrong here. Much like the original, the bun used here was near perfect. Despite lashings of ranch and guacamole, this burger actually created less of a mess than the Original!
We ordered two sides of sweet potato fries to go with our burgers. We are big sweet potato fans and these fries were among the best we’ve had.
Going back to the Original 5 Napkin again, the burger was messy, simply from all of the cheese, sauce and juice that poured out on to my plate – so messy that I probably used more than five napkins to clean everything up; however, the burger was so good that I didn’t care.
I’m normally fit to explode from being so full after a burger, but I’d have happily eaten another one of these. Maybe even another two. A great bun, perfectly cooked patty, carefully thought out toppings, tasty sides and a long-lasting flavour makes Five Napkin one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.
The next time you are in New York, make it your first stop. Actually, go to New York just to eat one.
Price: $14.95 (sides $2 – $3)
+ One of the best burgers we’ve ever had.
+ Cooked to perfection
+ Perfectly balanced combination of flavours
– The option to customise or to ‘double up’ would have been good.
Have you tried this burger? Did you love it? If so, let us know!
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Five Guys Burgers & Fries
630 9th Avenue
New York City
Phone: (212) 757-2277