Photos and Words by The Trio
‘Twas the night before Marathon Monday and all through the city, everyone was hustling and bustling down Boylston, neon runners’ jackets looking so pretty. With all the commotion, getting through the streets of Boston was much more difficult than usual. But “ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low” to keep The Trio from getting together for their weekly meal. And when The Trio gets together, you know that they will be indulging in one of two American traditions: brunch or burgers.
So naturally, the destination was renowned burger joint, Five Napkin Burger. With roots in New York City (which now boasts five locations) and additional eateries in Miami and Boston, Five Napkin Burger believes the burger experience should never be one-way-fits-all. They've crafted a menu that's welcoming to carnivores, vegetarians, and scenesters alike. The ambience of the restaurant reflects just that.
The restaurant is set up as a modern diner. Big comfy booths line the walls as well as chalkboards full of playful doodles. What appealed the most to Jordan were the Einstein-esque light bulbs (each with a cool filament design), which filled the restaurant with a warm, yellow glow. After being seated in the center of the restaurant (Amanda first, who arrived early as usual and had to wait on the other two), The Trio thoroughly examined the menu and hungrily placed their orders.
Marisa went for the turkey burger, her go-to choice when it comes to burger joints. Five Napkin Burger's turkey burger is made with seasoned ground turkey and topped with asiago cheese, roasted tomato, arugula, pepper relish and pesto mayo on a sesame brioche roll. Marisa customized the burger slightly by ordering her turkey burger on a multigrain bun without pepper relish. She also had to pair the burger with one of her favorite sides, sweet potato fries. The turkey burger was absolutely delicious. It wasn't the slightest bit dry (as some turkey burgers can be) and was seasoned delightfully. The star of the show was definitely the pesto mayo, which really stood out but in no way overpowered the flavor of the turkey and asiago. The sweet potato fries were some of the best Marisa has ever had- not too crunchy, not too soft, but just right (Goldilocks would have approved). This was definitely a meal Marisa will be ordering again.
After previewing the menu online, Amanda was set on honoring her Italian roots with the PTF, a burger with truffle aioli, fontina cheese, and portobello mushroom. Upon arriving at the restaurant though, she was slightly disappointed to find that the Boston branch did not offer that menu item. Instead, the rosemary aioli sold her on the Original 5 Napkin, which also included gruyere and caramelized onions on its soft white roll and fries on the side. The burger was huge and difficult to cut into, but Amanda powered through and found that her hard work paid off. Although the highlight was definitely the crispy exterior of the burger, the inside was pink, juicy, and delicious. Although far from a classic American cheeseburger, Amanda appreciated Five Napkin’s unique perspective and enjoyed her meal nonetheless. The fries were crispy and seasoned to perfection, making Amanda a very happy burger eater.
Jordan copied Amanda and ordered the Original 5 Napkin burger. However, she altered it slightly by replacing gruyere with cheddar (the true classic). After taking one bite of the ginormous burger, juice started dripping down her hand and, with her mouth full, tried to yell for a napkin. It was after that first bite that she truly understood the name of the restaurant. The only thing missing was a crisp pickle. But after asking for some pickles to complete the meal, Jordan was extremely content. It was to her dismay though, when looking over the check, that she learned that those pickles had cost her extra.
While the food was of a high caliber, the service fell short. The Trio was not feeling the love. After waiting over a half hour for their food to arrive (much to the annoyance of a hangry Marisa), they were disappointed to find that not once did their server ask them how their meal was. And if the classic hospitality law holds true and the fullness of the water glass tells how good the service is, then The Trio's cups were empty.
As experienced diners, though, The Trio knows that the quality of a restaurant cannot be defined by a single experience. While the service may have been off that night, the food certainly was not. Five Napkin Burger does not fall short when it comes to flavor. They serve one hell of a juicy burger, one that’ll definitely have you licking your fingers clean (with the help of a napkin or five).