As many of you know, the well-known burger micro-chain 5 Napkin Burger opened up in Astoria last week. I hosted a contest on my site where readers entered a comment for their chance to win a special sneak preview of 5 Napkin before it opened. Three lucky winners got to bring 2 guests along and everyone else who entered brought one friend.
The party was a blast and showcased this new restaurant in a great way, together with the food, the fun atmosphere and a really welcoming staff. I arrived a bit late so I didn't sample everything on the menu (besides the burgers, which you can see me scarfing down in the above picture) but my hubby Dan fortunately did. His 5 Napkin experience moved him so much that he decided to write a guest review, offering his two cents in his signature, brutally honest way. Enjoy his commentary and please join in the conversation by letting us know what you thought.
Dan's 2 Cents about 5 Napkin Burger:
This is Dan, guest posting once again for your (and my) beloved Foodista. The last time I filled in for her she was deathly ill with the Hanta Virus or something, and she needed me to fill in. Fortunately this time, there is nothing wrong with her, rather I merely wanted to post about a restaurant I had the good fortune to attend the preview party of the other day.
5 Napkin Burger, which apparently has two other locations in Manhattan, has landed in Astoria. It's a great location, right near the UA Kaufman Astoria Stadium 14, in the space where The Cup Diner used to be. They had a preview party the night before their official opening this past Wednesday, June 16th and I have to say, the event was a lot of fun, and really well run.
The atmosphere was cool - dim-ish lightning and decent music to go along with an interesting decor, featuring an old fashioned meat rack snaking along the ceiling, replete with giant stainless steel hooks. But not in a creepy way, although meat hooks always remind me of the scene in the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when Jessica Biel discovered her friend hung up in Leather Face's underground lair...I digress.
The staff was very personable and attentive, especially considering the passed hors d'oeuvres style of the event. And they were more than happy to keep our glasses full. But aside from the open bar, the food itself was really very good.
They passed around sliders, pretty big and substantial for sliders, of the various burgers they will offer on their menu. My favorite of the bunch was the restaurant's namesake, The 5 Napkin Burger. Juicy, sloppy, dripping with cheese and onions; the slider itself was probably a 2 or 3 napkin slider, so I would guess that the full sized version might actually exceed the 5 napkin estimate by at least a couple.
Other memorable burgers were a Greek burger made of ground lamb with tzatziki, and an Italian turkey burger. I especially enjoyed that one, the roasted red peppers and fresh muzz on top were delicious additions.
But beyond just burgers, some of the other items passed around were really good also. They had great fries of course, and I can confidently say that they make a top-tier onion ring.
However, the two appetizers/sides that stood out the most were these really tasty mini potato croquettes (about the size of tater-tots) and fried pastrami and pickle skewers. I realize that sounds a little unusual, but it was truly awesome. It was a slice of pastrami and a thin pickle slice, rolled up together like some kind of rollatini, then skewered, battered, and fried. Delicious. I would have to say that those little things were the highlight of the evening.
And all the free booze of course.
The costs mirror 5 Napkin's Manhattan offering at the following price point:
Starters: $7.25 -$10.75
Burgers: $11.95 - $22.50 (burger for 2)
Salads: $14.95 - $16.95
Entrees: $13.50 -$19.75
Sushi: $10.95 - $15.95
Sides: $2.75 - $7.25
3 Manly Mmmms
5 Napkin Burger - 35-01 36th Street, Astoria NY 11106
N/W Train to 36th Avenue or R/V/G Train to Steinway Street