Monday, February 9, 2015
5 Napkin Burger
We recently headed on over to the Back Bay where we'd been invited to a blogger dinner at 5 Napkin Burger located in the Prudential Center. Lots of fellow writers were talking about the "burger bubble" being ready to burst just on the heels of the "cupcake bubble". My opinion is that in 2015 there is going to be a more widespread burst in the restaurant bubble across the board. To me, there just does not seem to be enough diners to support all of the new restaurants (many of which are great) that have opened. I think downtown will be hurt the most as new dining destinations such as Assembly Row and all of the new options in the Burlington area push large, upscale, casual dining out into the suburbs, with the added attractive benefit of plenty of free parking. It's now quite easy to find food on par with the level of quality one could only find in the City just a few years back without having to go into the city. Of course, that's just my opinion but we'll see how it plays out over the next year or so.
A stack of thick-cut panko-encrusted fried onion rings were just one of the appetizers that we enjoyed. These were very good, full of flavor, with a delicate crunch.
We sampled several flatbreads as well, all of which were very good. For those not familiar with 5 Napkin Burger, it is not just another upscale, fast food burger spot with counter service. Here, one sits at a table with linen and china and table service as one would at any other restaurant. In that way, it has set itself apart from the plethora of burger-and-fries upscale eateries that have ensconced themselves on the Greater Boston food landscape.
This Edamame Hummus with miso-tahini, sunflower seeds and warm flat bread was excellent and my favorite of all the appetizers served. It may sound odd but I enjoy having a vegetarian option before I tuck into a juicy, meaty burger.
I went with the Asiago Turkey for my burger. With seasoned ground turkey, asiago cheese, roasted tomato, pepper relish, arugula and pesto mayo on a sesame brioche. The bun was nicely grilled, a very important part of a great burger, the meat was well-seasoned and moist. As turkey burgers go, it was great. My side of Macaroni And Cheese was, however, quite dry. I prefer my Mac to be creamy and cheesy with a generous dusting of crunchy bread crumbs. It needed at least another ladle of sauce and less time under the broiler.
The Cheddar Tots were very creamy. Almost too much so. The potato seemed to be pureed. I do like a little more bite to the potato but these were definitely worthy of a try.
We all tasted the original 5 Napkin Burger, which began the whole thing. Using the best European-influenced ingredients this gourmet burger featured at the owner's Mediterranean restaurant proved so popular that it launched the chain. Ten ounces of fresh ground beef, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and rosemary aoili all served on a soft white roll. An absolute standout of a burger. I fail to see how any burger-lover could be disappointed.
I had skipped the wine served for a Black And White Malted Shake much to the envy of my fellow writers and diners who wished they'd thought of the idea. It was rich and deliciously malty. They were not to be left out, however, when the Smores Shake was brought out for dessert. Again, creamy deliciousness.
In all, fine burgers, great shakes, fun atmosphere, excellent service and with a bit more attention to the details of some of the sides, a great, casual dining experience and certainly a place to take friends in search of a greater burger find.
5 Napkin Burger
105 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02199