Mr. Rabbit and I stopped by the Fifth for impromptu dinner on Friday night. We marched right in at 10:00 without reservation. Had to run the gauntlet through the cheesy downstairs club, but still felt OK once up the freight elevator to the upstairs rooms. This space is still gorgeous - warm interior and luxe-ly appointed terrace both feel like a lovely secret in the middle of clubland.
We had already had an app and cocktails at le Select earlier in the evening (charcuterie plate… satisfying), so dived right into the mains. We ordered a cab and a burgundy from a selection of four by-the-glass reds. Both were passable, and I really quite enjoyed my Cab. I ordered the "petit" filet with frites, and Mr. Rabbit ordered the fish special (a black cod in a lobster broth) with green beans (actually, he initially ordered the veal, but they ran out, so he re-ordered). The bread basket was ordinary (looked like some Ace baguette and a bit of focaccia). My steak (ordered blue rare, a tough call) was perfect. The cod was also lovely. Our sides were decent, although the frites has a serious McDonald's-y flavour (Mr Rabbit said they reminded him of the county fair, but he happily them hoovered up). The beans had a satisfying crunch, and a nice bit of butter-y glaze. Eventually we ordered dessert (a "Fifth sundae"... a passable but largely uninteresting ice cream confection). Mr. Rabbit finished with coffee and a calvados (and I managed to have another glass of wine along the way).
This all sounds OK, but somehow the experience was less-than. In short, the Fifth has five-star prices, three-star food, and the service was somewhere below that. This place used to have a very innovative kitchen, but the new “grill” menu is completely lacking in imagination, despite mains that are sometimes above $40 — before a la carte sides ($8 each). The liquor pours were decidedly stingy, and Mr. Rab’s shot of brandy was positively thimble-esque. The staff were beautiful, icy, but service was not particularly polished (as one would expect at a restaurant operating at these price points). As we looked around at the cougars, the clubkids, and the bachelorette party, we realized that the “new” Fifth is a very different restaurant. The old Fifth catered to demanding foodies and it delivered interesting food and impeccable service. The new Fifth is little more than a very sexy, upscale Keg.
PS – the chocolate truffles at the end of the meal are a nice touch.
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