5 Napkin Burger – Meat on the UWS

I often have cravings for burgers. Juicy, meaty burgers that are sloppy and messy and greasy and wonderful. And when I say a burger, I don’t mean a skinny little patty that I could down in 5 minutes. I mean a huge honking side of cow, overflowing with toppings and sauces. Bigger, in the case of burgers, is better. However, I don’t often indulge these urges, because, whenever I do, one of two things happens:

1. I eat the burger and fries myself ( a burger without fries is like Jersey Shore without Snookie), get a fat/carb/salt overdose, and spend the rest of the day feeling like I’m going to hurl.

2. I share the burger with someone, am not fulfilled, and end up needing a slice of pizza to quell my hunger pangs.

So I am always in search of the perfect sized burger to either eat alone or share.

5 Napkin Burger is a large, airy restaurant on the Upper West Side that offers everything from burgers and fries to sushi on its vast menu. The atmosphere is casual and bustling, and don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table during prime hours. The friendly waitstaff and spacious interior make it a great choice for a casual date night or a solo lunch at the bar.

Peanut Chicken Salad with greens, daikon radish, cucumbers, celery, apples, onions, scallions, peanuts, honey – lime vinaigrette & peanut – ginger dressing

This is the best Chinese chicken salad I have had since Wolfgang Puck’s version in Las Vegas. Really a perfect version of this California cuisine standard. The chicken is poached so it is tender and absorbs the nutty sesame and peanut dressing. The peppery daikon, sweet apples, and hint of  spicy ginger in the dressing make the salad satisfying but light. It is the perfect accompaniment to the main event

Original 5 Napkin Burger with 10 oz. custom ground beef, caramelized onions, Gruyère cheese, rosemary aioli, soft white roll

THIS is why they call the restaurant 5 Napkin Burger. You need at least 5 napkins to get through this burger. It is huge and arrives cooked to a perfect medium rare, with a thin, dark brown crust concealing perfectly dark pink insides. The patty is excellent – very fresh beef, highly seasoned and well cooked. The meat is so juicy that it saturates the bottom bun, making it almost fall apart. Though some people don’t like when the bun deteriorates, I don’t mind it – I kinda like mushy buns.

That’s what she said.

The onions are caramelized so they become one homogenous jam, sweet and sticky next to the nutty, melty Gruyère cheese and the creamy aioli. The rosemary used is barely detectable, just enough to counteract the sweetness of the onions. Make sure to ask for some extra aioli as a dipping sauce for the excellent shoestring fries. This burger is really a BURGER – big, meaty, juicy, salty, pleasantly greasy. As such, it’s a total gut bomb. BUT, it is so big and the toppings are so indulgent that it’s a perfect burger to split.

5 Napkin may have solved my burger problem. The burgers are hefty enough to split, and with a salad tacked on, it still makes a filling meal without causing a total food coma. At $15, the burgers are pricey, but you can get out of there for about $40 for lunch for 2, and not need anything else for the rest of the day. And you, like me, might end up with a few less issues.

One issue down, 6,803 to go…

Five Napkin Burger on Urbanspoon


  1. That looks freaking good.

  2. I need to try their new location on 14th. Because I am too lazy to travel uptown.

  3. John K. says:

    Love their burger! Their campfire s’more milkshake isn’t half bad either!