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5 Napkin Burger

Your Rating: None
4 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

35-01 36th St
Astoria (Queens), New York, 11106-1335
United States

(718) 433-2727

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Added by wcintula on 04-04-2011

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Ratings: 4 |  Reviews: 3
Reviews by slander:
Photo of slander
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The name “5 Napkin Burger” invokes an image to me anyway, of a burger that is so goddamn unmanageably messy that you’d need no less than 5 napkins to get through it without wearing some of it on your head, neck, chest, and/or arms. As such, I think they ought to rethink that name, I’m just a-sayin’. Some stupid money PR guy probably quite laughingly said, “People will come to see if they can take it down with 3 napkins or less. It’ll be a like a bizarre burger challenge”. And so it goes. Sunday, with Ben, and we should probably call the kid, as we are in her neighborhood...

Corner joint at the intersection of some numbered street and some numbered avenue, as is the nature of Queens. A spacious open room with 5 pillars in a row down center kind of breaking it up a bit. The reception space sits front row center and behind it, a long worn beaten table with plants, scales, blue glass seltzer bottles crated and more below, a milk shake machine and a henway. On both walls off the corner, windowings of 3 large glass panes countered by subway tile wall space shortys in between, each with a glow panel lit and an angled mirror atop. And the far wall of subway tile with a massive blackboard holds scribbling, secrets of the universe, etc. White honey comb tile floors with the infrequent black hex tile, or flowerlike or other design of randomness. Stucco’d up white ceilings, pipings, ducts and pillars, and black steel trackings running overhead all around. Meat hooks hanging amidst dangle scale pieces and bare bulbs low enough for Ben to have hit with his head, the lighting on wheel gears rolling along a conveyor, kind of.

Black leather booths on the far wall with planters below the windows the length, and another 9 up front and wrapping around. A long shared double side bench from pillar to pillar for the ½ dozen 2-seaters on each side, and 4 angled square tables along the bar to my left.

To the rear, a “C” shaped wood bar with a rounded lip & paneled base, and seating for 21 on non-backed stools of black leather. Barback is a large black slat wood unit running the length with flats in each corner. The unit holds counter space inlayed for glassware. Booze behind them over mirrored back panels. A shelf of booze above with all the whiskey/bourbon on center and another shelf atop with Maker’s Mark bottles and nothing but. Shelving & cupboard space below, and some cooler bottle action. Blue & green seltzer bottles shelved down past the bar, and a crate more at kick me level just outside the shutter dinged dented stained scratched doors hiding additional seating slash party room space.

5 taps on a single tower on the bar. The house 5 Napkin Nut Brown Lager (Kelso), Avery White Rascal, Bear Republic Racer 5, Stella, and a Captain Lawrence seasonal, which was and will soon again be the Smoked Porter, but right now is the DogFishHead Chicory Stout, on the heels of the DFH dinner (The next beer dinner is Avery, and then Captain Lawrence some time after that). I drank me some Chicory and then some more of the same. Man, I loves me that beer.

Plus a solid bottle list of 68 or so, mostly micro (like ¾ of ‘em) with some import and macro play, as well. And then another dozen in large format 22’s & 750’s (Helloja, Jolly Pumpkin). The list is broken out between Ales and Lagers, and then smatterings of styles subdivisions within. An Orval will cost you $12.50 and is incorrectly slushed in the IPA category.

We started with these apps three; Deep fried pickles & pastrami, with kraut & mustard oil (tasty); pork taquitos, with queso fresco, sour cream & salsa (Win!); and fish tacos, baja style mahi on flour torillas with pickled jalapenos, crema & cabbage slaw (also, excellent, the peppers gave some good heat but not too much).

And then turned our sights on that which burgers. Ben split an Original 5 Napkin Burger with the kid, and scored the Tuscan fries all herby. I had the tuna burger, marinated in ginger, scallions & soy w/wasabi mayo on the side (and thank you for suggesting so), and tempura fried onions, on a sesame egg roll, and the sweet potato fries. Ben felt his burger needed something to hold it together from all that is savory too much. Whatever, I dug on the tuna burger, and the sweet pots rocked.

Returning a few months later on the heels of the Captain Lawrence dinner, I dealt the bacon cheddar burger, as these are all things I like. Revisited and hit the bacon cheddar burger, and sided with the tater tots, or they with me. Serious burger, and the tater tots are the way to go. Trust me, I haven’t lied to you that you know of. Bonus: Got to have at some crazy sour left over from the aforementioned Captain Lawrence event. Did not suck.

Tunes, a mix of retro and techno, were cool. Ben felt the place was a little TGIFridayesque, I disagree. Food was good, not very good, not amazingly good, just good. Beer was up to snuff, tapwise kept well and ample bottled selections for me me me. I’d napkin again.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of sirsteve42
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of damndirtyape
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Reviewing the 5 Napkin Burger at Hell's Kitchen (9th Ave & 45th st).

Atmosphere: Neat inside - tile walls, meat hook conveyer belts, well lit, big bar, lots of tables - part butcher shop and nice cornerside cafe.

Quality / Selection: All top notch beers here, as well as good food. Huge bottle and can beer list, broken down by styles. Really here I have to blend quality and selection of beer in the same section because in my mind, they go hand in hand here. One side of the menu is all drinks - the left half of that side is cocktails and wine, while the whole right half is beer choices. Beer on draft is at the top (only 4 available at this location), while the beer in bottles or cans is broken down by style for the rest of the page. All craft beers and imports. A good selection of east coast and NY beers, but you'll see some classic west coast (Stone, Lagunitas, Anchor, 21st Amendment) and some Colorado (Avery, Dale's pale ale). Good selection, good quality. I'd give it higher marks on selection if it had more than 4 taps.

Service: Stopped by at 3PM (very late lunch) so not very crowded. Quickly seated, quick order taking, and quick delivery of the food. Maybe at rush dinner time things would be slower, but I was very pleased. Friendly staff as well.

Food: It's a burger joint, but the burgers are tasty and very flavorful. Although they are insanely messy - you may need five napkins to clean up afterwards.

Value: The beer could be pricey if in cans or bottles ($7 to $9 per can or bottle), with bombers available as well which were more expensive ($14), but hey, it's NYC prices. Food was reasonable in my opinion for what I got (Big burger, fries - $13.95) so overall I think it's a reasonable value for where I was. I would definitely stop in again.

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Photo of wcintula
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

My wife took me here cuz she's a good one.

The place looks like a meat locker with pulleys and meat hooks and scales hanging about. There's a bar straight in the back that's pretty long with five plain black tap handles. It seems they're going for the 'classy' bar look.

Menu is nice, not too many food items, making selection easy. Appetizers range from about $5-$10, burgers around $11 (with no side), entrées up to about $20 and desserts $7. We shared deep fried pickles and pastrami. You get four pieces for six dollars and tasty as they may be, they leave you wanting more. Also? more pastrami than pickle, not bad, the name was just misleading. I got the Original 5 nap burger and she got the ahi tuna burger. Both delicious, ahi, very light, beef, very heavy. Both, very delicious.

The food prices may seem decent but drinks are where they'll get you. Fred runs 13 a bottle here vs 9 that I've seen in bars. Jolly Pumpkin Roja runs 23 vs 15 that I've seen (large format). I had a Smutty Porter for 6 and a less than stellar McGovern's Oatmeal Stout for the same.

All in all, an eating destination, of course. I'll save the big drinking for Sunswick, a block away.

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5 Napkin Burger in Astoria (Queens), NY
Place rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 4 ratings
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