Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Death by Cheeseburger III - I Owe Lee

We're on vacation this week, and we're spending five days on the Jersey shore. I definitely wanted to take advantage of the trip south, and have a burger at a chain I'd not been to before. There are quite a few burger chains that haven't made it to Albany yet, that are in the NYC metro area.

I settled on 5 Napkin Burger.
If you've never heard of them, 5 Napkin is a small but growing chain with 7 locations.

I haven't done much research on them, but from what little poking around I did do, I get the impression that they started out selling primarily burgers, and then expanded the menu significantly. I recently read that as a result of the menu expansion, they're changing the name from 5 Napkin Burger, to just 5 Napkin, to reflect that the focus is just not burgers.

The expansive menu, has a bunch of different beef burgers, as you'd expect, as well as veggie burgers, tuna, and turkey burgers. They also have sushi, salads, and tacos, among other items, and it all looks very good.

For a first visit to any burger joint, I try to make a point of eating their signature burger. If the restaurant is named after the burger, (or vise-versa), ostensibly, that's their best burger, and the one to get.

5 Napkin's signature burger is called—wait for it—The 5 Napkin Burger. (I know, you're as surprised as I was).

The thing is huge. It's a single 10 oz patty, on a large shiny bun, with caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, and a giant—and I mean giant—mound of rosemary aioli perched on top. The photo I took doesn't do justice to how just much aioli is on the thing.

I hated it.

Holy aioli!
On my first bite, my mouth was filled with a heavy dose of the rosemary aioli. It was like eating a rosemary branch drenched in mayo. The rosemary is way too strong, and it's not pleasant to eat that much condiment. My guess is that's where the napkins come in, because I had the aioli all over my face after just a couple of bites.

Instead of calling it the 5 Napkin Burger, they should call it the aioli burger.

The aioli completely overwhelmed my pallet. Bite after bite of rosemary aioli. I could barely taste the caramelized onions, or the generous amount of cheese. The thick patty (I asked for it medium rare), lacked seasoning, and was bland. I had to reach for the salt and pepper shakers to give it more flavor. It had a nice crust, but that didn't help. And to my dismay, the bun wasn't toasted.

I ended up getting through just over half of it before throwing in the towel. (Sorry, I threw in the napkins).

The other items we had were excellent though, so I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. My wife's turkey sliders were delicious, the fresh cut fries were good, and my daughter's hand breaded chicken strips were some of the best I've ever had.

I'm looking forward to a follow up visit, but you can be sure I won't be getting the aioli burger.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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