5 Napkin Burger
Corner 45th & 9th, Midtown West

I generally like going to the theater, but loathe having to find pre-theater dinner places in the mega-touristy Times Square/Theater District area. Restaurant Row is 30 years past its prime, most of the Little Brazil is gone, and most everything else is over-priced and crappy. 9th and 10th avenues are the only oases for good cheap eats, like Gazala Place, Island Burgers and Shakes, and several Mexican hole-in-the-walls. But if you are going with a date or friends, and want more of a proper restaurant, there is really slim pickins. That’s why 5 Napkin Burger is a welcome newcomer. Yes it’s touristy and unauthentic, I mean the menu contains shrimp tempura, matzoh ball soup and steak frites. But in a land of schmaltz, at least you can get a quality burger, and there is something for everyone on the menu.

We had the colossal Burger for 2 and it was pretty incredible. It was as big as my head, and if you’ve seen my head, that’s no small feat. It is 2 8oz patties, cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and 5N sauce. Those ingredients blend to form the same flavor profile of a gourmet Big Mac. And I’m saying that in a good way, because McDonald’s tastes great – it’s just horrible for you. Plus, when eating it, I like I was on Man v. Food, even though I had to share with Spud. It is also comes with 2 sides, a pretty good deal for $22.50. We ordered the bowl of pickles and the onion rings. Both were very tasty.

I also dug the dark, bustling atmosphere and friendly service. Check out 5 Napkin Burger, it’s a fun and satisfying choice in the Theater District. In a sea of losers, these owners know how to create a winner.