5 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 625-5559

I discovered Five Front just after I got through watching an elephant paint. Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass was having an art festival and someone had shown up with an elephant that could draw. The Rents saw something similar when they were in Cambodia, and brought back one such painting... although it was painted on parchment made out of elephant manure. Now that's recycling. The street was packed with people. I would later learn that the other artists (though I use the term loosely) were upset and felt that the big elephant was a distraction demeaned their festival. That being said, I think the elephant's stick figures were a far larger display of artistic talent than the two people in their underwear sloshing around in a bathtub. But that's me.

I actually had no idea that there was even an art festival. I was really there to go to West Elm for a dining table. They were out of stock, so Bro and I instead wandered around aimlessly.

I like Dumbo. I like it a whole lot. A super whole lot. And if it were remotely affordable I'd move there. I love the warehouse lofts and cobblestone streets. I love the park right on the water. I love that it's one stop from Manhattan. That said, Dumbo is not a very livable place. There are a couple of cafes and a pizza place, a "super"market, one lonely Starbucks, and only a really small number of restaurants, many of which cater to the tourist crowd who want to eat near the water. Other than that, its shops are art galleries and real estate offices. Still. I love Dumbo.

Towards the end to this wandering came we to an isolated corner near the exit ramp of the Manhattan Bridge. The menu looked good, the prices weren't bad, and we were hungry. Bro and I asked for a table. Then we went home. We were too hungry for a forty minute wait. Clearly, someone had discovered Five Front before we did.

A few weekends later, Bro and I convinced Shrink to take a day off from watching the TV shows she'd recorded to go out to dinner with us. There was no convincing DudeMan. It was a little chilly, so the three of us sat inside, even though there is a beautiful garden dining area. I was a tad miffed that we made reservations this time, since the crowd was very light. Better safe than sorry.

Starting with drinks, I succumbed to guilt and ordered a Michelob Ultra, Shrink got herself a Riesling, and Bro ordered the worst Sauvignon blanc I've ever stolen a sip of. Then the appetizers. Shrink skipped them but picked off of what Bro and I got. Bro got the Grilled Calamari Salad. It's basically grilled calamari on a bed of greens (I forget the kind), with olive oil, lemon juice, and chilies. This was easily one of the best grilled calamaris I've ever had. Seriously delicious. I ordered the Prince Edward Island Mussels. First, this appetizer is huge. But that's good since I was hungry and sharing. Second, don't confuse this mussel dish with its European cousin. There's no wine broth or garlic butter here. Instead they cooked it in a curry sauce. I had never had it before,or even thought to pair the two, but I'll definitely have it again. Sooo good.

For an entree, I ordered the Brick-Pressed Roasted French Cut Chicken Breast. It was served with creamy polenta, fava beans, and pancetta. Recently I've begun noticing that any restaurants are beginning to serve polenta instead of mashed potatoes. The fact that polenta is corn-based makes it far more sweet than it's traditional rival and Five Front is among good company in pureeing it into an ultra-smooth paste. Anyway, the dish was incredible. One of the best chicken dishes I've had, on par with Danny Brown's similar dish.
Bro went for the Sauteed Atlantic Salmon with a Preserved Lemon Confit. It was served alongside a bed of quinoa, spinach, and "aromatic vegetables". Aromatic vegetables? What the hell is that? But really, it was very good. De-freakin'-licious. It might have been the best entree we ordered. The salmon was so tender it was practically liquid. Order this if your diet limits you to one entree per dinner.

Shrink chose to get the New Zealand Lamb Shank with Herb Spaetzle. It had a lamb glaze and caramelized red cabbage. Yummers. I was actually expecting Bro to order it. He went to Australia for a few months, the epicenter of the lamb world, and came back a lamb-crazed fiend. As you can see below, it was quite a substantial dish. Almost like a stew with a humongous chunk of meat. She loved it. I have never been a humongous lamb guy, always choosing a beef dish (or venison if it's available) if I want my protein in red-meat form. But this was really good, and I can't say not to get it, especially if you're a lamb-crazed fiend.

Our desserts were equally good. I'm a huge cheesecake person. And so I ordered the Cheesecake. Was it as good as Junior's? No. But it was still damn good. Toss a cup of coffee next to it, as I did, and I'm a happy camper. Bro went with the Chocolate Espresso Cake (with a coffee), which he liked a lot. I had a small bite and liked it. But I'll be honest and say for the record that I don't remember much more about the cake. He says it was rich. Shrink skipped dessert and ate some of ours, but ordered a cappuccino.

A beer, two glasses of wine, two appetizers, three entrees, two desserts, two coffees, and a cappuccino came in at 131.95 plus tip.

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