Review: 5 Napkin Burger
With a location at the bottom of the Pru and staff that understands that for office hive-dwellers, a lunch hour means just an hour, Boston’s 5 Napkin Burger is a welcome addition to the Back Bay lunch scene. And the after-work specials are pretty great, too.
The idea behind the décor of the Boston space is something between Old-World bistro (shiny white-tiled walls, massive wine racks, heavy wooden bar), downtown diner (leather booths, stainless condiment carousels on the tables, chalkboards all around) and “We sell meat!” with meat hook track lighting. It’s an ideal place to meet someone for lunch or a post-grind cocktail. But if you’re feeling antisocial, the long bar on one side of the restaurant is perfect for a solo lunch mission.
When it comes to the menu, the focus is squarely on their nine varieties of burger—which include Ahi Tuna and Lamb Kofta. The menu also branches out into the expected starters and sides, a handful of salads and a whole bunch of comfort food entrees (think mac and cheese and fish and chips). The restaurant also has enlisted a separate sushi chef and dedicated kitchen space to create their half-dozen maki rolls to order.
Eat this: If you’re overwhelmed by the selection, it’s best to just stick to the classics. Order the restaurant’s signature, the Original 5 Napkin Burger ($10.95). The 10 ounces of ground beef comes topped with gruyere cheese, carmelized onions and rosemary aioli. Pair it with a side of the Tater Tots ($4.25)—they’re actually more like deep-fried scoops of mashed potatoes.
Drink this: The Perfect 5 Napkin Manhattan ($11) is heavy on the Maker’s Mark—really efficient for taking the edge off if you’re in a lunch-hour rush. If you’re not feeling boozy, opt instead for a Black & White Malted Shake ($5.50). For the best of both worlds, go with the Dark & Stormy Float ($8), a rum and ginger beer with a generous scoop of rum raisin ice cream.
Sit here: Most of the leather booths offer the same level of comfort, but grabbing a table near the large front windows is ideal for people watching.
Conversation piece: This is 5 Napkin’s fourth location, but the first outside of New York City. The growing burger giant’s gradual takeover of the U.S. will continue on to Miami and Atlanta.