It's Saturday night in Sayville and half the town, it seems, has converged upon the new Downtown Burger at Five Points Cafe. At least an hour's wait, our party of four is told. Rather than belly up to the crowded bar, we make our way to a nearby coffeehouse, checking back periodically by cellphone. We take our seats a cool 55 minutes later.
No question, this casual cafe is a local magnet, drawing people in with hefty burgers and lightweight tabs. Good looks help, too: a beautifully landscaped clapboard building that's a ringer for a historic tavern but is actually brand-new. Does anybody care that most of the dinnerware is plastic and disposable? Not that I can tell.
SIGN ME UP
Burgers are beautiful, cooked to the doneness requested. For ease of eating, I pull out the center of the thick crusty bakery rolls they're served on. One bite of the thick, oozy, beefy steakhouse burger (with blue cheese, onion straws and horseradish sauce) and I'm in another realm. A simple cheeseburger is almost as good, while a chicken burger turns out to be spicy, juicy, delicious, topped with tomato and mozzarella. Even the veggie burger (made mostly of sweet potato and spinach) delivers on satisfaction.
Unabashed carnivores will want to order the wicked Reuben sandwich -- warm corned beef brought in from Manhattan's Carnegie Deli piled with sauerkraut, Swiss and Russian dressing onto marble rye. The optimal side: toasty sweet-potato fries.
Finish with a rich chocolate or vanilla milk shake.
PASS IT UP
Sliders are supposed to slide down easily, but these are chokingly dry, slipped naked into thick little rolls. A spinach and artichoke dip, served in a plastic bowl, isn't worth the calories. Saltiness mars a grilled ahi tuna salad, while an otherwise fine, fresh Cobb salad is undone by a lollipop-sweet Meyer lemon vinaigrette (low-fat from a bottle, yet). While a Cajun chicken sandwich has kick, the poultry is dry and overdone. Fries are previously frozen and pedestrian. And mac and cheese, somewhat improved over the first visit, still stars overcooked mushy pasta.
Cupcakes, while pretty, can be dry beneath their fancy toppings.
Burgers, burgers, burgers.