Four of us went to dinner at Fifth Floor last night. DH and I have been there 3x since mid-2011; niece once before, friend "not in years!". DH and I love Bazirgan's food and wanted to enjoy the traditional menu before the switch to small plates (Eater SF: http://sf.eater.com/5th_floor_changin...).
I haven't even started my full review for my personal notes, but wanted to give some quick highlights in case anyone stops by before the Jan 17th shutdown:
- scallop ceviche
- uni flan: Bazirgan must love this; it's always on the menu in some fashion
- duck breast: stunning! Possibly the best, meatiest, most tender, delicious duck any of us have ever had.
- swordfish with puy lentils. The lentils were properly cooked with a dark savory broth, one of the rare instances where we all approved of the current fish-with-beans trend.
- mustard sauce with the pork croquettes - I mopped the remaining sauce up with bread, something I rarely do
- risotto with white truffles
- mixed winter vegetables
- pork croquette; considered individually from the sauce, which as mentioned above was marvelous
- duck liver torchon with sherry consomme and parmesan crisps
- bouillabaise - the sauce (wasn't a soup, and usually isn't at these kinds of places) was excellent, but DH didn't care for the fish, saying they were okay but not great, not as good as the swordfish or uni.
Many people must like the chocolate bombe, which also stays permanently on the menu. It's okay, not world-shaking
Coffee Napoleon was an odd interpretation; the pastry was thick but crisp and semi-flaky. We couldn't quite figure it out, wasn't a cake or shortbread but wasn't a traditional butter or puff pastry either. Nice cream, but how can you go wrong with heavy cream and coffee, LOL?
Winner was the parsnip cake. I'm sure many people passed this by, based on the prosaic ingredient description, but it was spectacular. Like a not-too-sweet carrot cake, with layers of citrus flavor from yuzu, Buddha's hand, and kumquats, in the form of gelato, foam, and soft gels. I seldom enjoy Modernist touches but these had a complex interplay that was stunning.
We don't get into the city much, but Fifth Floor was a fav of ours after Boulevard and Prospect took a (temporary? we've heard things are getting better) dive on us right after Ravi Kapur left. I hope Bazirgan stays on; like Banks White of Five/Berkeley, an often under-appreciated chef.