Get ready for it… It’s another installment of “Jason and Kysha’s Weekend Drive to Brooklyn” (cue music). Starring: Jason and Kysha (applause). Featuring: the borough of Brooklyn (stand up!) with special appearances by the Brooklyn Public Library (Go BPL!) and Greenpoint.
Jason had to go to his office at the BPL to drop off some things and asked if I wanted to come with. It was a lovely, sunny Saturday so I thought, “Why not?” I knew we would at least end up with another food excursion under our belts.
Our first stop was the library. I had never been, so Jason gave me a quick tour of the front and back of the house. It was very impressive, both his work as director of marketing and communications and all that the library offers the community. I will return to use their Rosetta Stone language learning library soon in preparation for a milestone trip.
Once his task was complete, we were free to seek out food. I recalled a couple of places on my “Must Eat” list in Brooklyn, like the Biergarten (hear great things about this place) or Smoke. However, there was one that came before the rest.
After Heath Ledger’s passing, I heard of a place in Brooklyn where he was, now his estate is, a partner. It’s called Five Leaves (18 Bedford Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 718.383.5345, www.fiveleavesny.com). I only mention his name, as that is what initially drew me in, but once you have experienced Five Leaves, you realize that it’s much more than part of a gifted actor’s legacy.
Jason and I drove all the way down…up?…across Bedford Avenue (I’ve no sense of direction in Brooklyn) to the nondescript corner location in Greenpoint. Less the people milling about waiting for a table, we would have hunted for a while.
Our host, Granville, was a chilled out, plaid-clad Kiwi guy that puts you right at ease, but all the while you know he is in control and will kick someone’s “arse” should they get out of line from the righteous Bloody Marys coming from the creative, full-stocked bar. The interior gives you bistro-pub-cafe-bar-ness with a wood ceiling and mirrored “specials” board. It’s an intimate gathering of people.
Within 10 minutes, Jason and I were seated and presented with a homey, diverse and affordable breakfast-lunch menu to peruse. While the ricotta pancakes looked really good, I thought of you [my readers] and wanted to give you more of the lunch side of brunch to chew on. Surprisingly, this made choosing a quick process.
For our starters, we had Devils on Horseback (dates wrapped in bacon served with Dijon mustard, $7) and steamed mussels with saffron coconut milk, chilis, scallions and grilled sourdough croutons ($14). I drank alone since Jason was driving, and because I couldn’t pass up a heavily horseradished Bloody Mary with a pickle and a huge Manzanilla olive in it and a spicy celery salt mixture rimmed glass.
Those starters blew us away! The sweet, soft and warm dates tightly wrapped in salty, crispy bacon was only made mo’ betta by that nasal-attacking Dijon mustard. Hurt me! And that mussels dish was not only gorgeous looking with the red chilis and green cilantro perched atop the mound of plump mollusks, it was also amazingly delicious from the first bite of the soaked hefty croutons to the last spoonful of the fragrant broth. We were NOT playing!
We might have been able to stop at this point, but for our mains we ordered the special of beer-battered fish and chips, and the roasted beet and blood orange salad with arugula, macadamia nuts and goat’s milk yogurt ($12). The former was “official!” Perfectly beer battered and fried cod, and the chips were crunchy, seasoned and good.
Ironically, the salad was the overkill dish. We should have had it as a starter. Those mussels were a hard act to follow. Of course, we ate it, but I don’t think we gave it its best opportunity to shine.
Jason was done, but I HAD to at least look at the dessert menu. What was I thinking?! The kaffir lime panna cotta caught my eye initially, but I opted for the affogato ($7), which is an Italian dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot or two of espresso coffee. It couldn’t be anything less than delicious at Five Leaves.
Affogato is a simple and an easy lay-up dessert at your next dinner party for anyone that needs a coffee at the end of a great meal. I am not normally an espresso drinker, so on the ride home I was full as all get out and wired to boot. Not necessarily the best combo.
Five Leaves, thank you for a wonderful first experience. If I lived closer, I would be there more often. I do know we need to return for dinner and some of your interesting cocktails…and that panna cotta.
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
Questions at dinnertime? Chat with me at AskSCHOP, Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m.
Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! SCHOP! is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? E-mail kysha@iSCHOP.com.