Living abroad, you tend to get really excited about the little things that remind you of home. Like....when one of your favorite hometown burger places just happens to open just across the city, you are pretty thrilled. Five Guys has numerous locations in the US and has been expanding abroad for sometime now, but it has finally just made it to Abu Dhabi! Five Guys, if you don't already know, is known for their simple food. They focus on quality and make it a point not to veer too far from the simple idea of a really delicious burger and fries. The menu is very simple, a burger, a cheese burger, a hotdog (with or without cheese), a veggie sandwich, a grilled cheese, two types of fries, and milkshakes. And that is it.
Their beef patties are seasoned only with salt and pepper, and then griddled very thinly so that each one has a perfectly crispy edge, but a juicy center. Their hotdogs are cooked the same way, creating juicy perfection with a seared finish. The fries, are usually my favorite part. They offer an original version, and an unbelievably addictive Cajun version that is covered in a spicy seasoning rub. At the original Five Guys (in the US), the fries are cut from Idaho potatoes. The super mega potato. But right away I notice that there are no large fry sticks in these fries. Instead most are less than an inch long. It turns out that the fries here in the UAE are cut from imported Holland potatoes, (as the UAE imports some of their most expensive vegetables from Holland the quality is not lacking, it is just that you won't be finding any real fry sticks in your order...most are bits and pieces. Delicious nonetheless. But, the really disappointing part was how they pull the fries from the fryer, and pile them into a large paper cup, where they basically steam and soak in far too much oil. If they were to even put them just directly into a paper bag, it would help with the crispiness and oil absorption.
The real secret ingredient at Five Guys is the bun. Don't try to ask them about it because they won't budge. All they will let on is that it is their incredibly lauded bun has a dedicated bakery here in the UAE that is continually monitored by Five Guys world HQ in the US. They have had to meet specific standards to get it perfectly the same at all of their locations world wide.
On a final note, my all time favorite part about Five Guys, and what really draws me back to the far end of the mall...are the Milkshakes. So thick and creamy. And with a wide variety of flavors from Salted Caramel to Malted Milk, you are never at a loss for possible combinations. In fact I was recommended to try the Oreo Banana. Yes, yum.