Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: The 5 Napkin Burger Episode
The other day I passed by this place in Union Square and remembered seeing it a little while back but never actually stopping by to try the fare. I’d begun to see a lot of new burger places open and close in the past few years around the city and this joint took over what used to be a corner Deli. Now transformed into a bar/grill restaurant I like the make over. Would the experience match the decor? Let’s find out. “Never forget you” was pumping through my ears as I approached the entrance. I wonder if that was foreshadowing.
This is the Drink Menu on the table. Pretty cool I think. I took a look around and was compelled to snap a couple shots of the interior.
Staring at the ceiling I had a flash back of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” though “Saw6” would do as well. Take a gander at their black board below.
I’d dub that Tha Shiznit! Anyway moving right along…my server came to my table after a few moments and brought me a menu. I perused it briefly before I was asked if I wanted something to drink? I decided to forego alcohol and settled on their Saranac Ginger Beer. I told my server I’d need a minute to look over the menu and see what I wanted to try.
This was not one of the better tasting Ginger Beers I’d had. It was a bit on the sweet side and generally lacked much fizz or crispness that one would expect with a good Ginger Beer.
Their menu is decent but as far as burgers go lacking in variety when compared to Big Nicks Burger Joint. I suppose that’s the idea for them to keep it simple with their specialty burgers. However, when you consider their prices vs say Big Nick’s Burger Joint they have some pretty big shoes to fill as they are in Sumo Burger territory and beyond.
My server had left me now for so long a time I looked around and actually took some more photos of my people watching and still my server was no where in sight. I looked around the place and as you can see in the photos above it was not busy at all.
I managed to signal another server from across the restaurant and within a moment or two someone else came to take my order. The guy who took my order explained that my server was busy but he could take my order so …being that it was my first time In Five 5 Napkin I ultimately decided to go with the Original Five 5 Napkin Burger well done and with American Cheese instead of Gruyere. I added Mac n Cheese as my side seeing as how my burger would come with fries as it damn well should at $15.95
My original server returned to me after the other server had taken my order and I took the opportunity to add one more thing to my order as I saw that they had the happy hour special of 50 cent wings. My original server then informed me that I had to be sitting at the bar in order to get them.
I laughed out loud in shock and disbelief “like really?” Im thinking to myself who’s the “genius” that decided that? My server asked if I wanted to sit at the bar to which I said flatly “no”. I was comfortable with my window seat. Why should I have to sit at the bar to enjoy wings?
So my server left to take someone else’s order then came back a little after that and asked me how many wings I’d like. 😉 I figured 6 was the right amount. When she left again I was presented with the following…
Clearly someone said “We don’t do American Cheese up in herr”! I gave up as I said to myself you did ask for an “Original Five 5 Napkin Burger well done (with American Cheese) not Gruyere. Chef said “you’ll eat Gruyere and like it!!”
HAWHAAT!!? Hand cut golden goodness!!! Uh…Yessum!!! They could use some ketchup, speaking of which…
Now this is where the tires came to a screeching halt and the sound of brakes squealing could be heard. This is supposedly an “American Bar and Grill.” So tell me how do you mess up Mac N Cheese or should I say call shells in cheese soup Mac N Cheese?!!! How do you do it?!! Why do you do it?!! I’m not saying I’m anti shells but come on man?!!
This was blatant false advertising in my book, but you know what, I was hungry and those shells did taste kinda good. LOL Even still I say call a spade a spade, call shells shells and dog-gonit call Mac n Cheese, Mac…N Cheese!!
Then came the wings!!!!
When these arrived at the table I wasn’t expecting them. I mean I was thinking along the lines of plain chicken wings with the option of sauce in a carousel or on the side, but that’s my mistake as I didn’t specify what kind of wings I wanted. Nevertheless, I gladly partook of these tangy spicy good wings. The Five 5 Napkin Burger lives up to it’s name as it gets very messy all over you while eating it no matter how careful you are. Luckily, they give you a good sized real cloth napkin with your utensils.
My first bite in and there was disappointment not necessarily in the taste but in the fact the my burger was under-cooked. I was irritated now to say the least but not enough to send my burger back to the kitchen as I generally speaking as a rule never send anything back to the kitchen unless it’s so egregious it has to be sent back.
I did find that the caramelized onions were sweet and surprisingly the Gruyere cheese wasn’t bad. However because of the texture of the melted Gruyere and how soft my burger was in addition to the soft roll it sat on there was no textural contrast for me. I thought perhaps if it has some crisp lettuce on it that would have made a difference . It still was a pretty good burger but I wonder now how much better I might have enjoyed it had it been made to my requested specifications.
Overall my experience at Five 5 Napkin Burger was good I’d give it 3 3/4 out of 5 Napkins. I base this on service, price, taste and presentation. Presentation gets 5 napkins all the way round in each component of my meal. Now for the rating of the Original Five 5 Napkin Burger. The Original Five 5 Napkin Burger gets 3 3/4 out of 5 Napkins. So far Big Nick’s Black Angus Sumo Burger hold’s the crown alone followed by Big Nick’s Kobe beef burger.
The hand cut fries were good but you’d have a lot better tasting hand cut fries at Five Guys and for a lot less dough. Fries get 3 1/2 out of 5 napkins. The Shells and Cheese Soup gets a 3 1/2 out of 5 napkins and the wings get 4 out of 5 napkins.
Once I finished my meal my tab before tip came to just under $30. I will be back here again to sample more of their menu and see if my experience improves over my first impression.
Till next time this has been The Five 5 Napkin Burger Episode by THEJNSREPORT.