Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A rereview extravaganza: Five Napkin Burger gets another chance

I had the opportunity to have lunch with my team from work today, and as always, I got to choose the place. I had been struggling with the task, but walking to work this morning, I had a momentary flash of inspiration: Five Napkin Burger. I had always vowed to go back, and I they did have some (somewhat expensive) salads that seemed to be able to be altered vegetarianly... it was the perfect recipe for a work lunch.

We rolled up at noon and were led to a booth near the window. Everything went smoothly: we placed our orders and waited a reasonable time for the food to arrive. No bread was offered, which was a minor blip, but maybe that's just standard for lunch? I'm sure if we had asked they would have brought some over.

I was grateful to two of my colleagues, both of whom ordered burgers-- on this second review, I wanted to make sure I at least got an up-close glimpse of the burger. CS ordered the standard Five Napkin burger. It was a very thick burger with caramelized onions and, it seemed, two slices (possibly different types?) of cheese. It came on a large, glossy, sturdy bun, with a side of shoestring fries. CS ate about a third of the burger and gave up-- she said it was good but just enormous. I tried a couple of fries, and they were tasty-- well cooked, although they could have been a little hotter. I also like my fries just a teensy bit thicker, but these were definitely good fries.

The namesake burger, in the flesh (har har har)

JW also ordered a burger, this time the bacon-cheddar burger. This burger was equally as thick and smothered with yellow cheddar, topped with some relatively thick and crispy bacon. JW managed to put away about 3/5 of this burger before fatigue set in-- I repeat, these burgers are quite large. He also neglected to eat his garnishes, so I took care of the lettuce and thickly-sliced tomato. I will note that these were especially good, for some reason. The tomato was very fresh and tasty. But I'm not sure Five Napkin Burger can guarantee that same level of top-quality garnish every visit (that's probably not their focus), so if you're going to come there for the garnishes... well... I guess I can say is you're someone after my own heart.

Just look at that big, juicy... tomato

My boss LF ordered the steak salad. It had sliced steak artfully arranged on the side of the plate, accompanied by a chopped salad of tomatoes, peppers, cheese, avocado, pumpkin seeds... and some other things. She enjoyed this salad, which was nicely portioned for lunch.

Artistic and delicious

I ordered the Szechuan Chicken salad, sans chicken. I also attempted to substitute artichokes for the celery, which I don't particularly like, but the kitchen was not amenable to this change, so I sucked it up and went with the celery. The salad had chopped greens, cherry tomatoes, apples, radish, cucumbers, carrots, celery, and crushed peanuts, and probably some other things in there that don't really matter because you can't taste much when everything is chopped up very finely. Except deliciousness, that is. You taste deliciousness. This salad was really good, and it came with two sauces-- a mayo-based sauce in a boat to the side, and the asian dressing, also on the side. The chef had also liberally seasoned the salad with salt and pepper, which always makes a salad good eatin'. I was very pleased with my choice here-- and it made Five Napkin Burger a place I'd go back to.

Tasty and delicious, with mysterious sauce

It's a bit expensive for what it is, but FNB is definitely now on my list of work-lunch spots. I'm glad I found something more satisfying than their Vietnamese summer roll, which was what I had tried during my first review. FNB is a solid neighborhood joint-- and for that I'll award it a much-awaited rating of three Offset Spatulas.

Five Napkin Burger
630 Ninth Ave, between 44th and 45th Streets

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