Five in Berkeley
Haven't seen much discussion on this restaurant in downtown Berkeley, so I thought I'd chip in here. After a movie at the nearby Landmark Theatre, headed to the Hotel Shattuck to check out the restaurant. I really liked the look of the place with its spiffy tile floor and dramatic space.
One of my friends ordered the prix fixe menu (beet salad, roasted game hen, and cinnamon apple strudel. I ordered the scallops and prawns with the pork belly as an appetizer. The table of four also shared biscuits with pimiento cheese and cornbread with honey butter.
Everyone liked their food, but the top dish was definitely the pork belly. My seafood was high quality and fresh, but interestingly I liked the black rice the best of everything in my entree. Oddly enough the "head-on prawns" didn't have their heads on. Maybe it meant they were cooked on and then later beheaded?
The biscuits were great -- light and fluffy. Although I think I would have preferred the honey butter with them instead of the pimiento cheese. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to try out the cornbread; I was hoping to compare it to Pican's, my favorite so far.
My husband and I split the buttered pound cake with berries and creme fraiche. My only regrets were that I never saw any lemon curd and that my husband finished it off while I wasn't looking, a rarity with him for desserts.
All in all, a great meal!
i read somewhere recently that there's a chef change coming. we went last night. everything was tasty but not really amazing. maybe the cheesy biscuits were amazing. the orzo mac-n-cheese with mushrooms and sundried tomatos was good but actually a tad bland.
the young lettuce salad was very fresh and nice.
i didn't get to taste our friend's fried chicken, though she said it wasn't breast, as she'd been told (she doesn't like dark meat). but overall she liked it.
our rib-eyes (substituted for the prime rib that was listed on the menu - i guess they were out) were delicious. huge, and perfectly cooked. good with blistered shisito peppers.
the robuchon-style butter puree was very good too, though i detected a lot of little lumps - i didn't mind them but it's not the silky experience i would have expected. but exceptionally buttery.
the service was really pretty sub-par, and what really turned me off to the place. really slow. we were ignored a lot of the time, though the place wasn't busy. i saw a lot of the staff kind of just playing around, chatting, but out of earshot or gesture-shot, so it was hard to get their attention. they also forgot to put the puree in my sister's to-go bag, which she'd asked for.
i really was not impressed enough to go back.
Oh, I agree - Five is our fav in Berkeley. Great service, especially from Dwight, who is terrific, a real professional.
We haven't gone back to Revival in a while - the food was a bit erratic. A great sauce on the rack of lamb but some dishes were just messy. And the service was terrible - one of those big empty dining rooms so all the waiters decided it would be more entertaining to chat in the back, near the kitchen, instead of paying attention to the half-dozen tables in the front that were occupied. But we do enjoy Venus, though not as much as Five, so maybe we'll give Revival another shot soon.
Our last meal at Five back in May this year (our eighth visit since late 2009) was the best ever. The flatbread with duck sausage, and the grilled prawns with chickpeas, were amazing! We really like Chef White's cooking.