Five Points and Benihana
Trying to kill two birds with one stone. I have reservations for brunch at Five Points tomorrow. The menu seems pretty diverse and a number of the items draw my attention. the eggs rancheros, roasted tomato and egg, lemon ricotta pancakes all sound great. Anyone been and have views on these or any other choices for brunch?
On a second totally unrelated item. My wife and I took my 21 month old son to Benihana last night. we went in with eyes wide open. We accepted that the food would be mediocre at best but passable (after all, its grilled meats and veggies) and thought the show would be fun for my son.
So we went and the entire experience sucked. My chef seemed like he'd rather be anywhere but the table and did nary a trick the entire meal. The chicken and steak were all way overcooked and unseasoned. The "vaunted" chicken fried rice pales in comparison to many others you can find in the city (Saigon 48's vietnamese fried rice, men kui tei's fried rice, etc.). The soup was a salty flavorless broth. I'm not a food snob who looks down on fast food or chain food. But this was really bad. For anyone even thinking about going, don't.
In my experience the Five Points brunch menu changes all the time, so don't get your heart set on any one thing. My personal favorites are the churros, sausage & biscuits, bourbon vanilla french toast (their banana stuffed one is also good), if/when they appear. The menu is indeed diverse, but changes on a very frequent basis, and there are also sometimes seasonal specials.
Five Points seems like it would be good for a family, and the menu is always good. The items you were attracted to are standards. It's going to be a perfectly okay, safe choice, but unlikely to end up as one of the great, memorable brunches of your lifetime. In fact, I usually forget it's even there.
Locanda Verde -- definitely order the ricotta to start, the Wood Fired Uova Al Forno with corona beans and black tuscan kale is great, as is Uovo Modenese with cottechino hash, spinach and tomato hollandaise, as are any of the pastries available. I think I give it a slight edge over Five Points but I didn't find LV's pancakes or french toast to be all that noteworthy. Tasty, yes. Best in the city, no.
well, on the back of sugartoofs comments on Five Points, we called an audible and went to Locanda Verde. I loved it. Now, i'm a huge fan of AC, loved A Voce when he ran the show and have his iron chef battle against Mario and permanent Tivo, so maybe I'm biased... just a little.
We had the Fried Eggs and Eight Hour Tripe, the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and the Scampi and Grits. Although each item skews towards teh high end of brunch prices ($14 - 17), the volume and quality of ingredients makes it seem like a reasonable deal.
The tripe was perfectly cooked, not too tender, but just right amount of texture in each bite. And the tomato based sauce was so fragrant and hearty, i sopped all of it up with the bread. I've always greatly enjoyed how rustic his food is, and this dish did not disapoint. My 21 month old chowed down the bits of egg and sauce that i gave him! After spurning the eggs I made for him earlier that morning.
I'm not sure that hte pancakes are teh best in the city, but they actually jumped ahead of Clinton Street's blueberry pancakes in my eyes. The edges are fried to perfect brown crisp and the pancakes themselves are incredibly light and airy, while still being packed with flavor. At the end of hte day, they're just pancakes and i'm not sure i can ever fully appreciate "brunch" food, but I'd order them again if I craved something sweet.
The shrimp and grits was chock full of crisp and tender shrimp, tiny chunks of some homemade sausage and a decent size pile of grits. The combination of each thing in a single bite was really nice.
Unfortuantely, i'm not a great writer and my reviews certainly don't convey the taste and aroma of each of these items as well as some others on this board could do, but suffice it to say, i'll be back. Definitely have to try the Uovo Modenese. the sandwiches as well as the ricotta (i loved this at A Voce and just couldn't order it on top of everything else)... but the truffled honey / burnet orange toast sounded amazing.
also, we got there at 10:15 (they open a lot earlier than most brunch places) which is great when you have a kid, parking was so easy to find, the restaurant was bustling without being crowded and the service was efficient and friendly, if not overly warm. But, in case you can't tell, we had a great time.