Five Napkin Burger's been packing in the usual Upper West Side suspects–families with little kids, packs of teenagers, fifth-date couples, old-timers, late-night solo snackers–since it opened in February on a prime corner of 84th and Broadway. And no surprise, really, that it's a popular choice. Not only does this friendly, casual "neighborhood restaurant" (read: upscale diner) feature a crowd-pleasing menu, but its pedigree is more than a little solid, the Five Napkin Burger chainlet founded by the team behind Upper West Side favorite Nice Matin.
So: success all around at Five Napkin Burger, Upper West Side. Only question is, does the food–and, more specifically, do the burgers here–deserve such crowds? We finally had a chance to wolf down one of these ten-ounce juice monsters the other evening, and though everything here is about two bucks more than what you want it to be (and about double what they charge at the great Columbus Avenue Shake Shack), we must admit that Five Napkin Burger does indeed serve up a worthy entry in the very crowded field of New York City meaty treats.
We sampled the Bacon Cheddar Burger (the timing wasn't right to try the eponymous Five Napkin Burger, drenched as it is in aioli), and it was very good, the ground chuck cooked perfectly to our medium-rare request, the smoky bacon just crisp enough to add both texture and flavor, the cheese sharp and gooey, the lettuce and tomato fresh and lively. Call it a solid B+ burger. The fries that come with (and for $15, they better come with, no extra charge…) are also first-rate, crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and tasting of potato, not just grease.
Five Napkin Burger Upper West Side details
The Five Napkin Burger on the Upper West Side is on the southwest corner of 84th Street and Broadway, and is open on Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 12:00 midnight, and on Saturday and Sunday for brunch from from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and then for dinner until midnight. For more information and a look at the complete menu, please see the Five Napkin Burger website.