I would normally never dine at an expensive place like the Fifth Floor after finding out the chef is leaving at the end of the month but I had a gift certificate expiring soon and dont know what the future holds so I figured I would give it a shot.
While the food was good I left disappointed. First, no dot com fallout here. Reservations were tough to come by, even several weeks in advance. Ended up getting a 10:00 pm reservation for last Saturday night, and the restaurant was completely full (including the bar)until at least 11:30. Luckily we arrived early and were seated by 9:45 after having a drink in the bar.
After being seated we were served an amuse bouche of scallion flan served in an egg shell with crabmeat on top. That was one of the highlights. After waiting quite a while we were finally served bread, after several tables around us were served.
After reviewing the menu I was disappointed in the choices. I heard all about how Morrone offers one entree several ways on one plate and was excited to try such a variety. Not this night. There were six or seven entrée choices, all with a singe prep. Two of the choices were incredibly common, a $38 beef tenderloin and a $41 porterhouse. To get some variety we decided to go with the six course tasting menu ($85), which I noticed was reduced $10 from the price listed on the website.
First course was Vichyssoise w/ Potato-Leek Cake and Sevruga Caviar. The soup was good with a strong pleasing taste of fresh potato, but nothing special. Next up was Hudson Valley foie gras with some sort of cinnamon or ginger crust with poached pear. Very good, but foie gras always is. Following the foie gras was roast lobster in some sort of corn chowder. The lobster was not particularly sweet and the dish needed salt. Disappointing at these prices.
Next up was the roasted quail with braised fig and chanterelles in a balsamic glaze. The skin of the quail was crisp and flavorful, the figs perfectly ripe. Probably the most satisfying dish other than dessert. After that was a New Zealand filet of beef served in a pretty bland sauce that I believe was red wine based. Overall I felt the sauce did nothing for the filet although the meat itself was very tender and perfectly cooked. Also disappointing at these prices.
Finally, we were served two ice creams for dessert, one black walnut and the other vanilla. Both were fantastic, although there were several desserts on the menu I would have preferred to try (such as crepes). Probably the best ice cream I have ever had.
Service was professional but there were long periods of time where nobody came to check up on us, and once or twice I almost poured my own wine from the decanter. Our waitress did earn points by comping two glasses of wine after bringing us a Riesling instead of the requested Chenin Blanc. The wine list is very impressive but the markup is quite large. We brought a 1997 Pride Cab and paid the $30 corkage, as well as ordering several whites off the list.
All the shortcomings would be forgivable at the local bistro but at these prices I was disappointed. Total check came to $240 (would have been $270 without the wine comp). I would not return and preferred the food at Elisabeth Daniel and Boulevard. Probably not fair to judge a restaurant after it is announced the chef is leaving but I would stay away until a new chef is named.