Five Guys burger: yucky lettuce
Another joint where the hype outweighs the food.
There's no doubt that this is the type of burger I should like: fresh ground beef (although, I'm not sure if it's freshly ground), that whole roadside stand style of burger that I love (messy, wet, etc). Hell my first hopes that were it would be a more accessible Shake Shack
burger (although I need to get back to Shake Shack to make sure that I actually like their burger...I'm sure I do, as Danny Meyer is no slouch). And I do like it, but come on, it's not all that exceptional.
It's really just a mediocre product, isn't it. The ingredients are mediocre, and from mediocre ingredients, you can't get any more than a mediocre product. On top of that, and to co-opt a line from the Rev. Bob Levy, they beat their meat like it owes them money. Take a look at how they treat that burger. They press it, squish it, cut into it to see if it's done. They cook it well done, with no other options. Come on. That's no way to handle your meat, and it's sure no way to cook a burger.
I honestly think this burger is basically the same as a Wendy's burger. Same ingredients. Same animal. What's different? Tell me! The fries? They're OK, sure. I don't need that many, though (that's a lot of fries), thanks anyway.
And who cares if the place is included in Zagat? Surely they know that this is completely and utterly meaningless, has no correlation to the food, and as such they should spend more time making a better product and using better ingredients rather than trying to convince those who don't know better that they already are. Tacking stuff to the walls doesn't make your burger better.
Now, given no other choices, being away from home, on the road, and hungry, if presented with the choice of Five Guys or Wendy's, I'd surely choose Five Guys (even thought it's considerably more expensive). But you won't find me going out of my way for this burger, which can be easily trumped with a frying pan in your own home.