The Five Napkin Burger got its start at Nice Matin, the French bistro on West 79th Street. It's popularity led to an entire restaurant being named after it, hence the 5 Napkin Burger was born on 9th Avenue in Hells Kitchen.
The restaurant has a wonderful bistro feel with its striped banquettes and lights hung from what appears to be large meat hooks. It's bright and airy, and a great stop before or after the theatre. But the menu does have its hits and misses. We'll begin with the hit. The 5 Napkin Burger is a goliath among burgers smothered in onions and a white cheddar. It's a good inch and a half thick and weighs in at 10 ounces. It's a double-fisted burger and juicy enough to earn it at least three napkins. Yes, it is as messy as it is scrumptious. But don't let that stop you. It is the best item we tried on our visit. But at $15 it begs for better fries. Our shoestrings arrived on the cool side and without much crunch at all.
The Ahi Tuna Burger ($14.95) was also disappointing; overdone and lifeless. The accompanying wasabi vinaigrette needed more of a wasabi kick. It was so bland I thought I was eating plain old tartare sauce. And the Crab Louis apppetizer served with Ritz Crackers ($12.75) was rather fishy. Whoever said "everything tastes better when it sits on a Ritz" never met Louis.
That said, the restaurant has a cool vibe, and with ample seating outside, makes for a nice spot to sip a cold beer (They have their own 5 Napkin brew.), or a frozen rasberry mojito, while wrapping your hands around one of those juicy 5 Napkin Burgers.