Monday, September 21

Restaurant Review - FIVE

Let me start by saying that I will use some + and - to sum up the things I liked and disliked...

I + the fact that it is right of 44 in the Hills - really easy from WW.

I - the hassle of a no Valet Parking restaurant - OK maybe I am spoiled but if I go out, I really don't want to have to circle around the block forever to find a spot.

I - the fact when we walked in, the host was on the phone, the restaurant was 3/4 empty - it was only 6.30pm - nevertheless, it took almost 5 minutes for someone else to come and greet us. The host never acknowledged us nor put the customer on hold for a second to welcome us.

I + his wife who came to the rescue was extremely apologetic and tried right away to make us feel better.

The Menu:
I + the Wine List - concise, eclectic and with wines under $60 a bottle. I have been to restaurants where the cheapest wine on the menu was $70... hum hum.
I + the Menu - few strong choices, very informative description, plenty of ingredients coming from local producers (I am a big fan of supporting the local Farms)

The Atmosphere:
I - when I feel cold in a restaurant. Julie was cold part of the night when the AC unit was boosting some air above us. The decor is sober, the art on the wall is fine.

I + when you can hear and talk to each other without raising your voice too much. The size of the room is great for a nice relaxing dinner.

The Service:
I + a smooth slick service. Not overpowering, not intrusive and Five nailed it. Our waiter Josephine was all smile all night with just the right amount of T&L you can expect.
I + the fact when I expressed my love for Lamb, she suggested right away a special off the menu - Lamb Shank - without reading some cheat sheets.

I -, actually I -- when a waiter brings your salad or appetizer and asks you:"Do you want fresh pepper?". Here is my take on this. If I go out and pay for a dining experience, I expect the Executive Chef or the Chef de Cuisine to season my dish to perfection. I haven't had a bite of it and I am asked if I want more pepper? How would I know I haven't tried it yet + isn't that the Chef's job to deliver the right dish from the get-go? I loathe this question!

The Food:
The Sprout Salad was solid

I love Beef Carpaccio but the cheese on top was quite overpowering the dish

Lamb Shank - beautiful piece and amazing dish - Very earthy. It reminded me of eating Game or a piece of Duck Confit. Well done.

I like the idea of a tasting but I like it even more when there is an order to enjoy the dish. The theme was chocolate but one should be guided in how to approach the dish.

Very sober presentation, almost too sober. A dessert dish should be more festive.

I had a very nice dining experience, the place was busy. Would I go to Five again? I don't think so and here is why. Like Simon Cowell says on American Idol, I was missing the Wow Factor. It was good, solid but not great. Chef Anthony Davoti's food is well executed but although I love the Five's concept - to empathize the five senses through a culinary experience - some of the dishes clearly didn't meet the expectation set by the concept itself. Below is an example of a dish I had recently hitting the mark on all my five senses.

What is a Wow Factor?
Two weeks ago I had dinner at a small unpretentious Spanish restaurant in Queens, NY. The owner suggested the following appetizer: a Jamon Iberico - dry cured Spanish Ham - Black iberian Pig range fed and fattened on acorns in cork oak groves along the southern border between Spain and Portugal. The waiter brought the leg on a tray to our table and sliced some pieces in front of us. It was Out of this World.

First you hear the owner came to tell us the story behind the dish. HEAR
Then you see the tray coming to your table. SEE
You smell the acorn - most intriguing smell for me since the smell of a white truffle tasting I enjoyed years ago. SMELL
You gently grab some small pieces with your hand. FEEL
You are blown away by the taste. TASTE

Here you have it... All fives senses in action in one single dish... WOW!


  1. Sorry you didn't have a better experience. I highly recommend Newstead Tower Pub, which is also on Manchester (at the corner of Manchester and Newstead) in The Grove. That neighborhood is really improving rapidly - cool neighborhood.

  2. Oops - I just remembered that Five is no longer in The Grove, it's on The Hill. Check out Newstead Tower Pub anyway. :)

  3. Thanks Brian for another great input.
    I will go to Newstead Tower Pub next!

  4. James, Thanks for the review - keep them coming. You have a very interesting perspective and probably higher standards in certain areas because you are French. I think we (as Americans) could learn a lot from your impressions of local restaurants.
    Thanks for writing,