In this city of eight million stories, there seems to be a burger for each one. I could make it my life’s ambition to try every burger in New York and I’d fail miserably.
There are places though, that when you mention to people that you haven’t been, their eyes get all wide and their jaws drop.
“Oh, what?” they say in disbelief, “You haven’t been to <insert burger name here>? Well. You just have to go.”
Five Napkin Burger was one of those places. I just hadn’t been to it before. I’d heard all the ooh’s and ahh’s but I just hadn’t made my way there yet. But then recently, I went, and now I’ve become one of those people .
What? You haven’t been? Well, let me tell you. Get yourself there fast.
Five Napkin Burger has several locations around New York but during my recent stay in Astoria, I went to one not in Manhattan.
I knew I was going to like Five Napkin before I even got my burger. Why you ask? Because if there’s one thing I love more than burgers, it’s burgers and floats/milkshakes. Together. It doesn’t get more wholesome and American in a God-this-country-is-awesome kind of way than this magical pairing of calories. Root beer floats are some of my absolute favorite and while I love the classic version of this with plain vanilla ice cream floating in a glass of cold, frosty root beer, a variation that I saw at Five Napkin made me think about it in a whole new light: the warm glow of booze.
Instead of vanilla ice cream, the Dark & Stormy at Five Napkin,used rum raisin ice cream, and instead of root beer there was Sarnac ginger beer (which is actually, non alcoholic). And finally, to add a little kick, Goslings rum. It was like a root beer float’s cooler, more boozy, big city cousin. And I dug it.
Creamy, frothy with just a hint of spice and a subtle bite from the rum, it was the start of a beautiful relationship.
But there were burgers to be had and so we got down to business. Lots of burgers sounded delicious including the cheddar bacon and the lamb kofta (I’m not a stickler for beef, sometimes lamb’s the one to hit the spot) but ultimately I felt the right way to go was with the Original 5Napkin burger.
And boy was I right. The Original, a fat hunk of juicy, slightly pink (how I like it, medium rare), tender meat, topped with a gooey layer of melted gruyere, a heap of golden, caramelized onions and a creamy dollop of rosemary aioli, was absolute perfection between two soft buns. A great big, beautiful mess.
The fries, which were ordered separately, were “Tuscan” style, which just meant seasoned. Thick and not flimsy, with a slight crispness to the outside but a soft, hot middle, these tasty fries covered in herbs and spices, were the perfect pairing to go with the creamy, cheesy, almost-butteriness of the burger.
Downed with my Dark & Stormy, I’m sure the calorie count for my whole meal was somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. But sometimes, a good story is like that, heavy but so satisfying. And I’m always a sucker for a good story. Why else live in a city with so many of them?