5 Napkin Grill on Lincoln Road brings a new meaning to hamburger restaurants. What they are doing sets them apart from the growing crowd of hamburger joints and the rest of Lincoln Road eating establishments.
I almost did not go to 5 Napkin Grill. I expected another expensive Lincoln Road restaurant with a hawker out in front. I was invited to experience a new menu that included many other items besides hamburgers, so my daughter and I went.
5 Napkin Grill is part of a small New York-based chain of six restaurants: Hell’s Kitchen, Union Square and Upper West Side in Manhattan; Astoria in Queens; Back Bay in Boston; and Miami Beach.
5 Napkin Grill is hawker-less. Chef Frederick Kelly is a delight, proud that his menu includes items he makes from scratch, including cold slaw, sweet pickles, and desserts. We liked his cheese cake and apple pie.
He shared with us a surprise that wasn’t on our sample tasting menu because it came up in conversation: chocolate ice cream soda with French Valrhone and Belgian Callebaut chocolate, served thick with a rich chocolate flavor. If you’re exploring Miami Beach on a hot afternoon, stop and try one. It will be worth the time and calories. It’s not on the restaurant menu, but will be made for you on request.
Cocktails and beers
Seven cocktails were offered to us. We tried little sips of a few. We agreed that Pama Cosmo was outstanding. It is made with Pama Pomegranate Liquor, Orange Curaçao, Prosecco, and fresh lime.
The restaurant has a beer menu with about 80 labels, including craft beers. Eight beers are on draft. “We hold beer and food pairing dinners,” Chef Kelly said.
Sample menu items we tried
Five Napkin Grill’s new menu items are more than just the typical chicken sandwich alternative in other hamburger joints. They include:
• Pimento cheese potato skins with bacon and sour cream. I am not a fan of pimento, but it was not overly strong, and we liked the end product.
• Wasabi deviled eggs. Wasabi alone can be overpowering, but that isn’t true of these eggs.
• Tuna tataki wontons with avocado, wasabi mayo, eel sauce, and tobiko (flying fish roe). This is a good blending of flavors.
• Pork taquitos with queso fresco cheese, crema, and salsa.
• Deep-fried homemade pickles and pastrami with honey-mustard vinaigrette.
• Guacamole made on-site, with white and blue chips.
• Crispy fried calamari “diavolo,” fried jalapeños, and spicy tomato sauce. The calamari was pleasant and not too hot.
• Pesto flatbread with fresh basil and garlic sauce, toasted tomatoes, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
• Veggie slider with 5N sauce and house pickles. “We make our own veggie burger,” Chef Kelly says.
• Three tacos – one each of skirt steak, chipotle chicken, and grilled mahi-mahi. I could have eaten more of these.
Also available, as you might expect, are 5N hamburger sliders with caramelized onion and rosemary aioli.
5 Napkin Grill is at 455 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139, phone 305-538-2277.
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