Phil McCabe closed his eponymous Irish Pub, and opened Avenue5 last night, February 6, 2014. Online, its menu doesn't list prices for breakfast, lunch or dinner. No surprise. The dinner prices are perhaps the highest on Naples' 5th Ave South! Someone's gotta pay for a million dollar new restaurant! The decor is attractive, cool, white, light and upscale. Servers are attentive.
Our dishes were a mix of hit or miss, with the only constant being that nearly all items were too highly salted, and I love salt on my food...to a point. This salt concentration was definitely over the line.
Avenue5 seeks its identity as a steakhouse, first and foremost. It has a ways to go, with Capital Grille, Preston's, and a host of others as established competition and familiar destinations to locals. Kudos to Mr McCabe for shooting for the stars with a higher end spot, and not opening a copy cat of other 5th Ave spots.
Appetizers are $14-15 generally. Our pork belly app was undercooked, yet a generous portion. The beans surrouding it didn't add to the dish. I loved the crispy fried oysters Rockefeller with fennel jam and sabayon. The Jonah crab fritters had a good crab: filler ratio, and a delicous corn salsa. The antipasto was ok. The beef carpaccio was a portion sized for a hummingbird, however the quality of the morsels was superb. The duck confit crepes were rich and tasty, the hoisin sauce oversalted, and the tempura fried veggie didn't really go with it. Fusion or con-fusion, I'll go with the latter.
Wines were delicous and our sommelier super helpful. Too bad he won't be here but a few months. Figure $14 for a decent glass...They don't have a menu yet for by the glass...they need to keep this gentleman to set them up as a wine destination, as well as a steakhouse.
My $42 rack of lamb was one of the best I've ever had. Wow! The 1 lb (precooked) $56 bone-in tenderloin/filet was ordered medium, and came out bloody rare near the bone, and medium at the periphery. The manager explained that the bone acts as an insulator, not a conductor of heat. Well, the real answer is...it depends on the bone's size, location, if it's firm cortical or airy cancellous bone, and if it's been cut or not, to alter its heat conductivity. ( See http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesI... ).Staff offered to take it back and give it a few more minutes. Fair enough, however that would have delayed the other guests from starting on thier dishes. Not good. The salmon was super tender but oversalted. Being a steakhouse, it gives no real sides with the expensive dish. Most sides are $9. Our mushrooms were delicous, and too salty. the lady at the next table had scallops that were too salty, and she said she likes salt...
It's clear the chefs know their stuff. Oversalting can be easily addressed. Please don't make customers stroke-out from salt-induced hypertension!
Desserts were a letdown. Fail. The apple tartin was practically freezer cold, and had too much sugar/caramel on top. We asked to have it warmed, and it was an improvement. The Key lime tart was said to have limoncello mixed in...we could not detect any such taste. I've had better desserts from grocery stores. Costco has better desserts. Really guys, if you want to have high end chefs and steaks, match it with a pastry chef, or get Mikkelsens or another baker to do it right for you.
It'll take some time for any new restaurant to iron out the bugs. With prices generally higher than Pazzo's and other spots on 5th, it'll take a year to see how customers will respond to the prices. Hob Nob across the street has found a gerat balance of price and quality. I'd go back to Avenue5 for only the lamb in a heart beat, but not for anything else. The oversalting was a turn off. There's too much great competiton on 5th, 3rd Avenue, Mercato and many fine independents, at lesser prices.
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