Five Leaves, Williamsburg
I live nearby and have been a handful of times. Now that Paloma is gone, Five Leaves is the only semi-chic restaurant within walking distance of me, so I appreciate it for that. It definitely has a few flaws...the seating is not very comfortable, the service usually ranges from lackadaisacal to bad, and the whole place gets more crowded than I'd like it to (guess it's a lot of other peoples' only walking-distance choice, too).
That said, I like the atmosphere, and I think the food is good if you know what to order. I've had some great things there -- the burger, the plain old house salad, the roast chicken -- some middling things (mostly at brunch), and some really disappointing things (the bowl of ricotta with honey that I ordered as an appetizer once was one of the blandest, boringest, most 'how did that even end up on the menu' dishes I've ever gotten at a restaurant).
It could be that I'm getting smarter about ordering but I think that the food may have improved since they first opened, too, so you might want to try it again if you liked the atmosphere.
Also, I'm obsessed with their house salad dressing -- it's a really light, clear vinaigrette that is mild and accompanies the greens perfectly. I want to figure out what's in it so I can try to make a knock-off version at home!
I agree. I think the way to go here may be the appetizer/drink only route. I had the poached shrimp small plate- really nice and had high hopes for the burger that was my main. The burger was downright deplorable. It was a shriveled up puck and looked like it came from a different restaurant altogether compared to the shrimp I had just eaten. I also have stopped in for breakfast on a (weekday) morning. They open at 8am I think. I had the sage scramble on ciabatta. It was very tasty. Good coffee.
Cute place, nice staff, decent drinks. Little too claustrophobic for my standards, but I will return for apps and drinks again with a girlfriend. Any more than a 2 person party seems like too much in that space.
i enjoyed the burger (just the plain old version, not the special with beet and egg), but the fries were lousy. have heard variable things about the rest of the menu, so while i'll definitely be back, it will probably be for wine and cheese or a drink at the bar before the evening rush begins. it's a really pleasant place when it's not overrun.