in the customer lounge at the Albuqueque Camping World where we were having some minor—but certainly not inexpensive—repair work done on the exterior molding of our rig. Chuck is on the computer and I am lolling on the sofa channel surfing. Suddenly he calls out to me: “Guess who USA Today named as having the best hamburger in New Mexico?”
Over the past fifty-one months, we have sampled many a burger and have developed our own hierarchy. First on the list is Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe. And there is a four way tie for second between Hodad’s (Ocean Beach, CA), Squeeze Inn (Sacramento, CA), Port of Call (New Orleans, LA), and Burgers & Moore (Kerrville, TX). So Bobcate Bite had to be the best in New Mexico—right?
In an article titled “51 Great Burger Joints,” USA Today said: “When you talk burgers in New Mexico, you're talking green chile cheeseburgers. But what distinguishes 5 Star Burgers, with restaurants in Taos and Albuquerque, is quality.
“Despite the relative lack of hype and brouhaha, 5 Star Burgers won’t play second-fiddle to any burger restaurant. The name on the marquee will tell you that. That name is bold and maybe more than a bit audacious; some might say it borders on braggadocio.
You walk through the doors and immediately know that you are not in your average burger joint. “Starting with an elegant space, sparsely decorated and augmented by a bar along one wall, the restaurant is
(Owner) “Gontram has simultaneously slowed down and upscaled the concept of fast food. He does more to defeat the stereotype of burgers being unhealthy and greasy than perhaps any other burger restaurant in Albuquerque. If the menu alone doesn’t tell you this is no run-of-the-mill burger joint, it will be very obvious this is no ‘gobble and go’ fast-food emporium when you don’t see a drive-up window anywhere in sight. In fact, you’re more apt to saunter into the restaurant than to make a mad dash from your car. That’s the pace at which the restaurant operates.
“When you walk in, you’ll be amiably greeted and escorted to your table where you’ll be presented a well-organized menu. Take in the swanky digs.
The menu goes beyond burgers and includes a number of salads and non-burger sandwich offerings. And there is a “Burger of the Month” with September’s being the Caesar Salad Burger with fried parmesan cheese, romaine lettuce, and Caesar dressing. But when in New Mexico, it has to be a green chile cheeseburger. And here Five Star also offers a twist with the Taos Burger with crispy green chile, bbq sauce, and cheddar cheese. But instead, we both ordered the signature Green Chile Cheeseburger—medium rare—with green chile, pepper jack cheese, and green chile mayo and accompanied by lettuce, tomato, and onion.
What can I say? This was a most exemplary hamburger. First, the toasted Faro Bakery brioche roll was light yet substantial enough to stand up to the juices that flowed from the burger.
So did we enjoy that lunch that we returned a few days later. It was the height of the noon rush but we were willing to wait in order to be seated at one of Andres’ tables. Fortunately, the wait was short.
On this occasion, Chuck’s selection was the Old Timer, a basic burger to which he added some pepper jack cheese. Did he miss the green chiles? No. He was in burger heaven. A little cheese, a little raw onion, and a superior hamburger patty—what more could he want?
I debated between special September burger and the Portobello Stack with crispy green chile, roasted red pepper, grilled onions, and gorgonzola cream. But then I did an abrupt about face and ordered the Coho Salmon sandwich on brioche. Delicious.
And, of course, we again shared a mixed cart of fries, and I discovered that the green chile mayo was delicious on my salmon.
What a great place! What a great burger! 5.0 Addies all the way. So who’s burger—as they say on Iron Chef—reigns supreme? We have a new leader. Best Burger we have eaten—Five Star Burgers. In second place—Bobcat Bite. And we now have a four-way tie for third.