By Don Johnson
5901 Wyoming Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
And various locations in New Mexico and Missouri
Having recently moved from Northeast Ohio to Albuquerque NM, I left a lot of old, familiar burger places that have incredible reputations. And, obviously I can no longer help the Burgerguyz ‘back home’ search there for that perfect burger. But, to satisfy my personal burger hunger and continue the search, I now forge new paths.
For this review, I broke the Burgerguyz tradition of avoiding chain restaurants. However, 5 Star Burgers is more regional in design that nationwide. But remember, it, like the big chains and other regional burger places all had its beginnings with a single store.
Rated one of the best in the country by USA Today, and Best of City – Albuquerque winner several years ago, I had high expectations as I walked in. While there was no line out the door, there was nary a seat available. As tables cleared, there always seemed to be more people immediately available to fill them. The atmosphere is clean and is not so noisy that you can speak to your fellow diner and to those at tables next to you.
I decided to try 5 Star Burgers’ Burger of the Month (BOM). For March, this burger is smothered with Gouda, bacon and barbecue sauce on a brioche bun cooked to medium. All the beef is privately sourced from Harris Ranch. Sides are ala carte. I opted for the onion rings.
The service was relatively quick. The burger arrived on a plate with the bacon on top of the Gouda and the sauce beneath the patty. The accompaniments, tomato, onion and pickle slices and a leaf of lettuce, lay next to the burger. The crown was gently resting on top of the accompaniments waiting its turn to be placed on top. The side of onion rings arrived in a cleaver presentation; placed in a mini mock fry basked lined with paper.
I’m glad I had my napkin within easy reach as barbeque sauce dribbled out from the bun onto my chin as I first bit in. I wasn’t much impressed with the burger as I found it to be cooked much closer to well than medium; however it was not dried out. The privately sourced beef itself had a very nice flavor; the Gouda itself had a mild, smoky flavor and the bacon was crisp and tasty. But together, these flavors were lost in the barbecue sauce. The brioche bun was fresh. However, the bottom bun didn’t survive as the sauce quickly helped its disintegration. The onion rings were nothing special.
Would I fail this place? There’s too much compelling information to consider. With too many local voters praising it, its national recognition and my dining companion being head over heels with her burger, I have to consider that I just didn’t order the right burger. I’ll go back and provide a later update.