I put a spoonful of peanut butter and a big drizzle of honey in my oatmeal this morning, creating a yummy, nutritious breakfast that tasted like peanut butter cookie batter. I'm a wizard! Sometimes the simplest combinations can produce the most delicious results.
But that is not what this is about.
This is about the most marvelous dinner I had at Five Restaurant & Street Lounge, the new place at 2917 Bryant, right behind Bryant-Lake Bowl. I think I'm gonna Tarantino it, and start with the little surprise that came at the end.
Alongside the check, nestled in a cozy white dish, still piping hot, coated with cinnamon and sugar, were two cute little mini-doughnuts. Crispy to the point of crunchy on the outside, and not too dense on the inside. In hindsight, I maybe shouldn't have eaten them because I was already filled to the brim. I could barely move the rest of the night, but everything before the mini-doughnut was so unbelieveably good that I just couldn't stop.
My entree was reginette pasta covered with a meatless "bolognese" sauce. Oh, glory hallelujah. So many -- but not too many! -- mushrooms in a creamy sauce dotted with just enough little pieces of tomato to cut the richness. It's like a vegetarian beef stroganoff for royalty.
My friend and I split an appetizer of polenta-stuffed ravioli in a basil cream sauce, despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of polenta and he's not a lover of the cream sauces. But Five made believers out of us. The polenta was so smooth, and the sauce was so balanced. There was even plenty of the basil cream left after we finished the ravioli, and it was promptly soaked up with pieces of bread until the plate was clean.
The layered salad was a delicious arrangement of textures and colors, like bibb lettuce, radish sprouts, and jicama strips on top. It was tossed with a Jerez emulsion, named after a city in Spain known for its sherry. My only real complaint was with the emulsion. It was a bit too salty, even with the crisp jicama, and I couldn't really detect much else. Sherry in dressing (like champagne in dressing) usually has a pretty mild flavor to being with, but I would've liked something with just a bit more zing.
I had a beer at the
bar Street Lounge on the main level before our table was ready upstairs. It was a Capital 1900, which I'd never tried before. A tasty domestic pilsner. Next time, I'm tackling the wine list.
Of course, I had to check out the bathrooms at Five. The Street Lounge offered nothing too fancy, except for the marble trough sinks. I do, however, recommend stopping in the Restaurant's bathrooms upstairs. The artwork is pretty cool, and the tiny blue lights all over the ceiling make you feel like you're in Transporter Room 2.
Five is beautiful throughout. Mixed lighting levels, dark decor, and bright paintings make it both pretty and cozy. The Street Lounge has a very hip, classy look to it, which you notice as soon as you walk in the foyer.
Two things I can't really comment on are my friend's entree of chicken and wild rice, as I don't partake, and the cost of dinner. I'm pretty sure my salad was $7.00 (another $7.00 salad!), but beyond that I wasn't paying attention.
My only advice: Try not to valet park at Five. Paying $6.00 to watch the guy drive your car into the adjoining parking lot before you're even through the front door might prove irritating.