Monday, February 7, 2011

Short order... Five Guys

Cheeseburger

It is not good. The end. No seriously, everyone's always going on and on about how awesome the Five Guys burger is, saying shit like "Imma let you finish, but Five Guys has the best fast food burger... of all time." No. Just stop. If you're one of those people, I'd like you to take just a few seconds to stop sniffing your whiteout and honestly tell me the burger you see above looks delicious. Because you'd have to be high on something stupid if that looks good to you. Maybe Five Guys used to be something incredible, maybe it used to be better, but let's be honest, the Hamburglar probably wouldn't even want to steal the miserable thing you see above.

OH NOES, Let me run down everything that's wrong with that burger. When I was unwrapping my ball of aluminum foil, I realized that the guy making the burgers was none other than Edward Norton, hit star of such films such as "Fight Club" and "American History X." How do I know this? Because he Hulk smashed the shit out of my sandwich, transforming a spongy light bun into a ball of condensed matter. It took a lot of effort to make that photo look less pitiful than it tasted... and I'm pretty sure I still failed. It'd be great if that's where my fail-sandwich ended, but then I bit into what I think were the mushrooms. They were like tiny little rubbery erasers exploding with the taste of bland in my mouth. And then there was the cheese. I didn't think it was possible to fuck up prepackaged sliced cheese, but when you fail to melt it on a "FRESHLY MADE BURGER," something's wrong. The culmination of sadness was with the patty. It was cooked to oblivion and clearly falling apart (this might've been directly related to the Hulk's handling of my sandwich). Seriously? People get pissed off at doughnut burgers, but love this stuff?

WHERE IS MY BAG OF FRIES?!

People have also told me that Five Guys fills a cup with fries... then shovels more to fill the bag. No. That also did not happen. I had a cup of fries with maybe 10 or so spilling over into the bag. They were also kind of cold. To be fair, they would've been fantastic if they were fresh from the fryer, but alas... they were not.

Inevitably, someone will tell me that I had a bad experience, and that I should give them another try. I probably will, but first impressions count big, and Five Guys screwed up royally.

21 comments:

esther said...

I'll be the first to admit that their beef is not the BEST quality. I do like their unlimited toppings. The patty that I usually get does NOT look like that! What's up with that?

The fries- they always dump extra into my bag. =( The cajun fries are a must.

Sorry that you had a bad experience! But please try again!

James said...

I think your statement reads better as: Five Guys is a franchise, and this one fucked up. Which Five Guys did you go to here? It'll help us avoid it :)

I wouldn't be surprised if the variance among 5G locations is pretty broad... when you work with fresh ingredients it takes In-N-Out-grade discipline to make things the way they were intended. The best Five Guys experiences I've had have all been in the DC area. Even my visit to the West Village NYC branch was subpar... though they did give me a hell of a lot of fries.

Danny said...

yea it looks like they short changed you on fries. they traditionally do a terrible job of melting the cheese, so that's no surprise there. i think they're average when compared to hamburgers in general, but for fast food chains that a lot of people have access to, they're up there. and i don't count the shack in there b/c there's just not enough of those for rest of the country to try.

Nicholas said...

esther - and they cook it SO well done. They didn't even give me the option of cajun fries! WTF.

James - you're 100% correct. I was blinded by my burger-driven fury in the title. Five Guys is indeed a franchise and variance has to be accounted for, but I feel like the problems that this branch (Philadelphia 15th street) have are tied directly to over-expansion of their franchise. The draw was that they used to be a non-chain feeling brand, who care what their final product ends up like. If that's the case, then the parent company is to blame as well.

The fries... that was just the tipping point. I didn't get that many at all :(

Nicholas said...

Danny - they're pocketing the difference in fries... probably. I feel like what I got was pretty average for a fast-food burger, not the whole burger spectrum. Come on East Coast... this is embarrassing.

Kevin said...

"Because he Hulk smashed the shit out of my sandwich."

^That made me lol. The only time I've had Five Guys was the one in NYC on 3rd Ave, and while it was okay, I don't think it comes anywhere close to Shake Shack. Unlimited toppings are all good and well, but the most important part about a burger is the meat, and Shake Shack is clearly much better. Your burger patty looks so, so sad.

Patrick said...

I agree the burgers suck but I love the fries...

i wish u can combine shake shacks burgers with five guys fries. i hate shake shacks fries

Rodzilla said...

That looks like shit. The only good thing that came of this was the hilarious account of the experience.

Nicholas said...

Kevin - never had the NYC one... although that's where most of my recs for Five Guys came from. Maybe I should try that one instead, but that doesn't change my annoyance at this location.

Patrick - the fries were... passable. Probably better if they were hot. But I could understand the appeal... IF MY BAG WERE FULL.

Rodzilla - I'm glad SOME good came out of this. That burger made me sad. Then angry. In that order.

Sue said...

Whoa, and I thought my Five Guys burger was bad! For a burger chain that's originally from the east coast, yours looks worse! :<

Graham said...

Plus they don't have milkshakes. What is with that?

Should you venture down to Austin, TX, I suggest P. Terry's. It's definitely my favorite fast food burger.

Nicholas said...

Sue - it was awful! It's like a soggy cardboard patty with some erasers on top slathered in Elmer's glue.

Graham - dunno, but good burger places should have milkshakes. They go hand in hand. Austin, TX is mighty far, but I'll keep that in mind if I end up there...

dominic said...

take it back.....

dominic said...

But seriously, go to a proper 5 Guys in Arlington VA (the original, highly consistent excellence) and let them make a believer out of you.

FN said...

I gotta disagree with you on this one. I love the Five Guys I go to in Brooklyn. Matter of fact, it is the first place I go when I step off the plane from Paris. I get the bacon cheeseburger and it might look F'd up like the one in the picture but I eat it in huge, loving bites and it is slamming!!! You either went to a bad franchise or got a lame one against the odds....

Nicholas said...

dominic - no. Not until you convince me otherwise. You gonna wine and dine me at Five Guys next time I visit NYC?

FN - really? Five Guys over the likes of Diner/Zaitzeff/Veselka? Damn. I probably did go to a bad franchise, but still... I feel like corporate should be somewhat accountable for what their branches produce, and what I got was not okay.

Anonymous said...

gotta go to ones not in philly. philly one sucks.

John Wozniak said...

@Nicholas: Five Guys usually adequately salts (absolutely imperative!) their burgers and the meat itself is far from flavorless (likely without or with nominal food science adulterations as well). It is far from the best burger to be had, but it is fairly reliable and I think there are aspects of evaluating burgers that you may be missing -- a burger, IMO, should be mostly about the taste of the meat -- which can be adequate to good even though the execution of assembly can/might be off. This does look like a fairly sloppily put together burger which can happen anywhere -- but that should have little effect on taste. I have eaten at various Five Guys in NYC somewhere around 20 times and have _never_ not gotten an overflowing cup and bag of fries -- not once -- so that is definitely not the norm at Five Guys (in NYC at least). Once, at the end of the night, they literally gave me a totally full _extra_, free bag of fries and they were close to just made and pretty good if not stellar.

My fave burger (if I had to pick) in NYC is Paul's, BTW. Crumbly patties FTW!

Nicholas said...

John - admittedly I might've gotten a dud. But this one definitely didn't taste like meat. It tasted like charring. Not in the good sense. If the flavors were fantastic and it looked like a ball of smashed crap then by all means, that's fine... the problem started with the handling/assembly, but most definitely ended with the taste.

I think Five-Guys is either you love it or hate it, and honestly I've eaten enough other burgers that it just isn't worth it to me... calorically to give it chance after chance (if that makes sense).

John Wozniak said...

@Nicholas: I think they effed this one up in a number of different ways it seems/sounds like -- it certainly does happen. I am not a huge lover of Five Guys (by any means) but I have gotten some decent burgers there, more often than not. I have gotten some duds though too. IIRC, the best ones I have had in the NYC area were from the Brooklyn Heights location on Montague (their team there is a pretty well oiled machine). I don't love the place though -- I would take a good pub burger over Five Guys any day of the week...

Have you been to Dram Shop (9th Street in The Slope)? To me it is like a Wendy's burger made by the Gods (ultra thin, square patties even). I wonder if you would dig that? Anywho ;)...

Nicholas said...

John - werd, burgers from bars are usually pretty win.

Never been to Dram Shop, but I'll make sure to go when I'm back in NYC. I do like Wendy's burgers (yes I admit it), so these should be right up my alley.

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