I feel like I could live in Manhattan for 45 years, and still never eat at all of the places that there are to eat. Many of the things that Heather and I ate were right in her general neighborhood. There are two 99 cent pizza places that are less than half of a block from her apartment. The neighborhood even a great bar just a few blocks away that has super cheap pitchers and free hot dogs!!!! Now that’s dangerous. We, of course, indulged on these guilty pleasures a couple of times, but we also saved room for the neighborhood’s best burger; The 5 Napkin Burger. Located at 45th st. and 9th ave., this restaurant is just far enough away from the madness of Times Square that it’s not inundated with tourists, but just close enough to the hustle and bustle to have a great view from the table we chose on the sidewalk.
5 Napkin Burger has a choice of seven burgers and over 50 beers to pair up with them. There are also a number of other options to choose from, but for me, I wouldn’t be going to a place called 5 Napkin Burger if I wasn’t craving a burger that required five napkins. All the burgers here are between $11 and $14, which again, is a huge shock to me, but I guess when dining in the Big Apple, you’ve got to make some financial exceptions to get the good stuff. I chose the 5 Napkin “Nut Brown Lager” and the Original 5 Napkin burger. I always think when going to a restaurant for the first time, it’s good to get the signature item. It’s a good place to start, then explore from there. But there was only one problem with the Original; it didn’t have bacon. I asked the waiter if I would totally screw up the purity and true essence of the Original by adding bacon, and he said absolutely not, it would only enhance. Yessssssssssssssss!!! We patiently waited for our food while watching the myriad of people cruising by, doing the things that people do in NYC in the afternoon on a Friday. The anticipation was killing me.
comte cheese (a type of gruyere from the eastern region of france). The thick bacon and caramelized onions were exploding out the top of the bun as wafts of rosemary from the aioli crept up my nose. By golly, I was ready. As I lifted the burger to my mouth, the soft bun dimpled under my fingertips, smashing all those lovely ingredients together to form a perfect bite. And it was. The key to this one is really the rosemary aioli paired with the comte cheese. The cheese’s nutty flavor stands up against the pungent rosemary, and they end up making love, not war. The burger is served with skinny fries that were extra crispy. The burger was a little messy, but I only ended up using one cloth napkin. Oh well…. My favorite thing about this burger is the creativity. I have had lots of burgers in lots of different ways, but 5 Napkin found an innovative combination that gives this classic American tradition a new twist.