FIVE and a Flavor Giveaway

    Dressed in black and white patterns from walls to chairs, FIVE spots a slightly older, more refined atmosphere for casual hotel dining just above the Berkeley BART station. I meant to go here after someone said that he finally understood the rave behind “chicken and waffle” after he had it during FIVE’s After Hour Happy Hour. If that dry white meat and cake-like bread at FIVE was that good, then surely the other things wouldn’t disappoint. Now nothing on the regular dinner menu costs 5 bucks like the Happy Hour (7-9 pm) nosh, but I got hungry before 7 pm, so I dashed in on what seemed to be a busy night. The hotel is hosting some conference. Nobody wanted to eat with me today, but one beauty of going alone is that you can always get a table.

    That said, if you have a party of 4 or less and would like to raid FIVE, which you should, I have a FIVE Vip Card “valid for a 20% discount in FIVE” to give you. Here’s how to get it:

    Leave me a comment below by midnight March 31, and if the number of comments is more than 1, which would make me ecstatic :D, then the winner will be chosen by a random number generator. The card is valid until July 31st, 2012. The winner will receive the card by mail or in person.

    Here’s why you should eat at FIVE:

    Appetizer: roasted bone marrow on crunchy fried bread with parsley and pickled shallot salad ($9). The bone marrow is rich and fatty, as expected from a cow leg bone. The salad is dressed in a light bordelaise, sweet, taut, and feisty. The fried toast is a guilty pleasure.

    Main: creamy green garlic risotto with grilled asparagus, oyster mushroom, shallot, and pesto aioli ($16). The ladies next to me got the prix fixe, which also featured this risotto with shrimp, and they kept complimenting how good it was. The charred, salted touch of the vegetables is the highlight.

    Dessert: dark chocolate torte with a milk chocolate ganache and mint chocolate chip ice cream ($8). I asked my server what was the least sweet desserts tonight (the other choices were butterscotch pudding, walnut carrot cake, and coconut cream pie), and he suggested this torte. It is rich, but it is indeed not too sweet. My only complaint is that the ice cream scoop is too far away from the cake, making it difficult to get both cake and ice cream in one bite. At the end, I had a puddle on my plate.

    The starter bread is crunchy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside, and perfect without butter. Now that I think about it, FIVE must be quite good with breads: waffle, starter bread, and the fried toast with bone marrow are proof. Because the restaurant had run out of pear sparkle, I might have made a mistake ordering the blood orange sparkle instead of the apple kind; I also chose the pretty simple stuff, nonetheless, it was a pleasing meal. So the more interesting things like monkfish wrapped in prosciutto or herb roasted pork loin might be even better. 😉

    Address: FIVE Restaurant and Bar
    2086 Allston Way,
    Berkeley, CA
    (510) 225-6055

    Money matter: 3-course dinner for one – $40.28

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