Best Burger (so far!) in Boston: 5 Napkin Burger

The 5 Napkin Burger was a foodie destination I'd wanted to get around to in NYC, but it never made it anywhere near the top of the list. When my plans to finally return to the Staff Meal food truck with my friend Andrew while he was in town were once again thwarted, this time by construction on Stuart street, we eventually decided to share a meal at 5NB, where we could enjoy our delightful meal in outside seating.

The 5 Napkin Burger was a lot easier to try in Boston (Back Bay) at $10.95 than it was in Manhattan, where it costs $13.95. Though, on the Boston menu it's "fresh ground chuck" as opposed to "custom ground beef" in Manhattan. I assume this means you're not getting one of the many Pat LaFrieda customized burger compositions in Boston as you would in NYC. Is paying the extra three dollars in NYC worth it? I guess I'll have to wait until the day I try the 5NB in one of the NYC locations.

Original 5 Napkin Burger 10oz. fresh ground chuck, caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, rosemary aioli, soft white roll

As it was it was really good.  The burger wasn't the perfection of the freshness of the meat in the burger I had at Farm Burger, nor was the gestalt quite as awesome as Social Eatz, which burgers I tie for my Favorite Burger award, but I rank it, so far, as my third favorite. This puts it just above the Apocalypse Now burger, which it resembles due to the abundant melted gruyere. But they keep this one simple enough while still having plenty going on, whereas the Apocalypse is, albeit purposefully, over the top.

The bun was soft and non-intrusive, the medium rare meat juices blending with the sweetness of the onions, in harmony with the sweet, nuttiness of the gruyere, the rosemary holding its own in this battleground where only strong flavors need apply, battling back against the meat and cheese with a good does of nature and green-ness.

5N sauce, which I ordered on the side for a fry accompaniment

Tuscan Fries - fries with herbs

They weren't as thick as I prefer, but they were fairly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the seasoning was nice. As Andrew aptly put it, the 5N sauce was, "Fine, like McDonalds' Secret Sauce trying to be fancier." For a pink sauce, it was a bit disappointing.

You can sub any of the sides (tater tots, sweet potato fries, some vegetable options, etc.) in for your fries, including even the tomato avocado cotija salad for no extra charge. Had I known that, I might've forced Andrew to let that salad be our side, but I was only made aware of that because the waitress for the table across from us informed her guests. Our waitress basically disappeared after she realized we'd be splitting a meal and not drinking alcohol. We received excellent service from another waitress, and I would've liked to tip her instead of ours.


Five Napkin Burger on Urbanspoon

There are a few mildly interesting things on the menu, such as these appetizers:

  • Deep Fried Pickles & Pastrami with sauerkraut & mustard oil $7.50
  • Pork Taquitos with queso fresco, sour cream & salsa  $8.75

And I would suggest, for an entree other than the burger, getting the:

  • Lobster Roll Sliders sweet maine lobster with 5n mayo, scallions & cucumbers on 3 toasted brioche rolls with fries $17.50 in Boston, $18.75 in NYC

Except that, for those, I'd go to Go Fish if I were you, where they're being sold for $3 a piece and might well be better.


Locations currently include: three in NYC, one in Boston, one in Miami, and one in Atlanta

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