Fifth Floor Restaurant is one of those San Francisco classics located in Hotel Palomar downtown. Sometimes hotel restaurants can get a bad wrap, but definitely NOT in San Francisco and at this at this Michelin-starred resto, especially with its classy yet contemporary space. The [chef] torch has been passed from George Morrone to Laurent Gras, Melissa Perello (who has since opened Frances) to Laurent Manrique, then Jennie Lorenzo and now Executive Chef David Bazirgan has stepped up to helm the kitchen. And that he does, with fabulously creative dishes. Did I mention he was voted Eater’s Hottest Chef in America?
I recently met The Dapper Diner here in the lounge area, which is a great spot to converge with friends, co-workers, or even a date. You can order off the dining room menu and still chat with the friendly, knowledgeable bartenders. Did I mention these bartenders know their stuff? Yep — order any one of the delicious concoctions from the list or have them whip up a cocktail at their whimsy. On this particular occasion I was introduced to Fernet-Branca, the so-called “Bartender’s Handshake” (it’s a San Francisco thing).
We started with a Smoked Salmon Amuse Bouche, which was a perfect way to set the tone for a fabulous dinner. Then we had two salads: the Asparagus and Hearts of Palm Salad with speck, sorrel, aleppo pepper, pink lemon vinaigrette and Roasted Baby Beet Salad with compressed strawberries.
Then we moved on to the real reason for our visit — the soft shell crab. We had the Soft Shell Po’boy and the Deconstructed Soft Shell Crab. It was absolutely divine! Chef Baz paid us a visit and brought out a Wagyu Beef dish as well as a Lamb Kidney dish. I wish I had written down all of the details of these dishes, but feel free to draw conclusions and drool over the photos! I won’t try to butcher the work of an artist.
Conclusion: Baz sure knows his stuff and is continuing the tradition of top chefs at Fifth Floor Restaurant! I can’t wait to stop back in.