Saturday, November 20, 2010
Harlem Nights: Welcome to the 5 & Diamond
Observations is reporting from Harlem USA at the 5 & Diamond Restaurant, located at 2072 8th Avenue (or Frederick Douglass Blvd.) and 112th Street. Just two blocks from the B and C Train 110th Street station, open the glass doors to dimmed yet warm lighting and a lively bar scene where you're lucky to get a seat. Believe me, it's worth standing. The fully stocked bar offers a specialty menu of 5 drinks called Signature Liquid Creations and snacks, including a full platter of cured ham, thinnly sliced to delight the tongue, with a complimentary dish of olives.
Small plate appetizers ranged from salads to butternut squash risotto and everybody's favorite comfort food, Mac & Cheese with Gruyere and fontina cheese. I tried the Tomato Salad with arugula, basil oil and balsamic granita.
The main courses are your usual meat, seafood, and pasta dishes, but the flavors coming from the kitchen are unique. My dinner companion had the Housemade Pappardelle with lamb ragout, slow roasted tomatoes and fontina cheese. I had the Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with apple wood smoked bacon, sweet corn, wild mushrooms and black mission figs and matched it with a 2008 Mosel St, Riesling.
Only two desserts are available: a chocolate lava cake or New York cheesecake. The 5 & Diamond does not have a Web site, but reservations can be made through Open Table or by calling the restaurant at (646) 684-4662.
After dinner, we trekked up to 120th Street to close out the night and people watch at Chocolat with--what else--a chocolate martini. Chocolat, located on the NW corner of 8th and 120th Street, is a beautiful open space with a neon blue bar that snakes almost the whole length of the restaurant. A separate room is available for private parties.