One of the reasons Five Leaves (18 Bedford Ave.) is so loved is that it always feels inviting no matter what the season. Spring and summer means packed tables of attractive sun worshippers lining the pavements outside, but in colder months there’s nothing better that holing up inside for an evening of great food and delicious cocktails. Last Friday was one of those such nights and we took great delight in ducking out of the chill night air into a cozy candle-lit corner to try some new seasonal additions to the dinner menu.
First up are cocktails. A Little Killer (above: rye, lillet blanc, cocchi torino, orange bitters), and an Old King (rye, apple brandy, antica formula, mole bitters, raw sugar cube) were both perfect pre-dinner drinks for a cold night.
The winter drinks menu also features warming treats such as a Hot Buttered Rum (Santa Teresa, Pierre Ferrand, cinnamon, lemon, butter, clove) and Spiked Hot Chocolate (steamed milk, chocolate syrup, rye, green chartreuse, Fernet branca) which sound incredible but we’ll try and save ourselves for those guys until after the first snow.
Seared sea scallops with lemongrass soubise, physalis, fennel and fried buckwheat are plump, generous and perfectly cooked. They taste exceptionally good against the semi-sweet physalis and the fresh flavor of fennel.
We also have a warm baby beet and romanesco salad with curry caper emulsion, cashews & mustard greens. This dish is a real beauty and tastes just as good as it looks, with the rainbow selection of baby beets variously raw, baked and pickled.
A dish of roasted kabocha pumpkin and ricotta agnolotti celebrates the joys of fall, and comes heaped with spaghetti squash, hon shimeji mushrooms, pumpkin seeds & wilted leaves of brussels sprouts. It goes down a treat with a glass of fruity tempranillo.
This Pan Roasted Monkfish is my absolute favorite. Nice and crispy on top, it sits over a heavenly rich broth dense with leeks, sunchoke, manila clams, black garlic oil & fresh pistachio dukkah. If you’re looking for a good time…get this.
We don’t deserve dessert but we get it anyway, because Butterscotch Custard is on the menu. The texture of a thick, indulgent creme brulee, it’s topped with candied peppered persimmon and served with a delicate ‘sand dollar’ cookie. Delish.
As always, our experience at Five Leaves is top-notch, so if the pending expansion is going to mean double the goodness, we’ll just have to cross our fingers that we’ll be able to get a table there twice as often.
Five Leaves is at 118 Bedford Avenue. They are open daily 8am-1am.