Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Look - 5 Napkin Burger

I managed to stop in last night (grand opening) at Atlanta's latest and tardy entrant into the Burger Wars (eye roll) last night. If you don't follow my tweets. A hamburger is easily my favorite food item ever, but I'm so sick of burger joints sprouting up (and doing well) in Atlanta. Are Atlantans really that unadventurous that they need to have a specialty restaurant for sandwich that they can already order in every single other restaurant? What I hate most about the trend is that all of the new contenders sell a glorified diner burger. They're all cooked on a flattop, thin patties and none are cooked below medium well. I'm sorry, but essential and important flavor and juiciness is eliminated by cooking any burger above medium and I for one order mine medium-rare at a trustworthy establishment. This is exactly why, as contradictory as it seems, I was moderately excited about New York chain, 5 Napkins. I knew they used a 10-ounce patty and cooked to desired doneness which sounded very promising.

Situated in the former Nickimoto's spot at Piedmont and 10th, the location will get a ton of traffic. The inside comes off nicely, sort of like a Concentrics restaurant and it's certainly noisy like one too. The service was excellent for a first night and I have no complaints at all. I also have to say the food was good to excellent. I ordered the original which comes with gruyere, caramelized onions, and rosemary aioli. All the ingredients worked well together - the creamy tang of the gruyere complement the sweetness of the onions and the aioli had some nice garlic flavoring that hit the mark. The bun was also exceptional - perfectly buttered and griddled, it was soft, slightly sweet and not that dry spongy type of bun that I get too often with a burger. The only shortcoming on the burgers was that they were both overcooked. I ordered mine medium rare and definitely got an uneven medium well. Kins ordered hers medium and also received medium well.
Appologize for iPhone photo, forgot my camera

The fries that come with the burger were close to shoestring style and similar to In N' Out's rendition(I considered these to be better). We also both ordered shakes, which left a little something to be desired. They all sounded fantastic but the two we had came up short on execution. I believe that a milkshake should be a perfect combination of thick and smooth - not thick enough that you burst blood vessels sucking it down, but certainly not as simple as sipping a soda. The cookies and cream shake was fine but slightly runny. The peanut butter-chocolate one really fell short. I'm pretty sure they use chocolate syrup (as evidenced by the remnants in the mixing cup) which left a very sharp, chemical note to each mouthful. I little fine tuning on the shakes and they could be excellent.

All in all it was a very enjoyable meal for an opening night. The service was very pleasant and helpful, but did seem a little unrehearsed which is completely forgivable given that they just opened. I will say that the meal was pricey. Two burgers (came with fries) and two shakes ran us $44.00 before tip. I certainly like the burgers at 5 Napkins better than most of their competition (Grindhouse, Yeah!, and the likes), but the price will definitely won't keep me away from my regular jaunts.
Five Napkin Burger on Urbanspoon

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