The “5 napkin burger” is shown at the Divine Cafe at 6380 S. Valley View Blvd. in Las Vegas on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.
“This burger does not belong in this restaurant.” That’s all I could think as I dug into the 5 napkin burger ($9.50) at Divine Café. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a damn fine burger. It’s big, sloppy, messy, and loaded with an amazing array of toppings – exactly what I look for in a hamburger.
It just seems out of place in this quaint little spot.
Divine Café is a breakfast and lunch spot on Valley View Drive near Post Road. It has a modern-hippy décor that feels more suited for present-day Woodstock, NY rather than the industrial park wasteland just west of the Interstate. Cheerfully colored abstract art hangs on the walls, and flowers are for sale at the counter.
Contrast that with the aforementioned burger. Using a hearty pretzel bun as a base, it begins with a half-pound Angus beef burger. On top of that is a slice of cheese (your choice), peppers, onions, jalapeno bacon, green chilies, heirloom tomato, romaine, grain mustard and chipotle mayo. Simply fitting the whole thing into your mouth can be a challenge. But it’s well worth it. Because as you take your first bite, juice running down your face, you see how well balanced all of those flavors are. This is a damn good burger! Just make sure you take at least five napkins to clean yourself up as you indulge.
Of course, that’s just one of Divine Café’s offerings. Their breakfast menu, available all day, includes a burrito ($9), Captain Morgan French toast ($8) and various egg dishes ($6 - $11). They have three soups ($3.50 - $6), seven salads ($6.50 - $9) and four flatbreads ($7.50 - $8). There are ten other burgers, sandwiches and wraps ($7.50 - $11). And main courses include mahi-mahi tacos ($9), Sonoran pork ($9.50) and southern fried chicken fingers ($7.50).
In addition to that wonderful burger, I’ve tried the restaurant’s chicken teriyaki stir-fry ($8), a barbecue chicken flatbread ($8) and a meatball sandwich that was a daily special ($8). The flatbread was my favorite of those three. The square crust was browned and crispy on the edges, but slightly chewy in the middle. And the mozzarella and smoked cheddar were beautifully accented by a sweet berry-tinged barbecue sauce, red onions and cilantro.
I was also impressed with the stir-fry, which is served over brown rice. The chicken was high-quality and the vegetables were bright, crispy and fresh. Moreover, the sauce was only slightly sweet, and not too heavy.
My only disappointment was the meatball sandwiches. While the sauce was good, the meatballs themselves seemed a little under-cooked - not to the point that I was afraid to eat them, but enough that I didn’t finish the sandwich.
Divine offers counter service with a menu posted on the wall. Unfortunately, it’s fairly useless for many items (like the 5 napkin burger), offering no description of the various items. Do yourself a favor and ask for a printed takeout menu, which fully explains what goes into each dish. Once you’ve ordered and paid, the staff will deliver your meal to the dining area or the small outside patio. (That patio doesn’t offer much in the way of a view, but it is a nice alfresco option while the weather is still nice.) There’s also a small counter against one wall where you can sit and enjoy a beverage while waiting for takeout orders.
The staff is pretty small and extremely friendly. Their clientele obviously consists primarily of the employees working in the nearby industrial park, so servers seem to know a lot of their customers. That gives the place a nice neighborhood feels, despite its non-residential locale.
In addition to the restaurant, the owners of Divine also operate a catering company. While I’ve never been to one of their events, a wall of photos hangs on one wall (highlighting the décor rather than the food), and looks pretty impressive.
Divine Café is well above average for a breakfast and lunch spot that caters to nearby workers. And the 5 napkin burger is good enough to lure anyone who doesn’t work in the area.
Divine Café, 6380 S. Valley View Blvd, 893-6444. Read more about the Las Vegas dining scene on Al Mancini’s blog, www.almancini.net and follow him on Twitter @almancinivegas.