The Burger, Bourbon and Beer special at Chef David Barzigan’s Fifth Floor Restaurant bar brought us back, but his new take on fried chicken will make us more frequent regulars.
Bar Manager Brian’s seasonal cocktails is also an excellent reason to return to this restaurant literally located on the fifth floor of the Hotel Palomar. We started off the meal with a perfectly balanced Manhattan (Rittenhouse Rye, Antica Carpano Vermouth, Fernet, Agave syrup) and a Pink Elephant made with absinthe flamed barside (Beefeater Gin, Pineapple Gum, Roasato Vermouth and orange bitters):
The Panzanella salad features various types of cucumbers (lemon, English, slicer), feta cheese and several types of heirloom green and red heirloom tomatoes. The modern take of the Greek salad offered spiced flatbread instead of day-old bread croutons. It was a great version of summer on a plate:
The rare burger came topped with Comté cheese and bourbon caramelized onions all set on a soft bun. It was accompanied with a spicy aioli and a very liberal amount of crispy good french fries:
The new item on the bar menu is the fried chicken and pork belly. Topped with still moving bonito flakes, the ‘fused’ terrine of chicken thigh and pork was breaded and deep fried to crispy perfection. Fresh English peas, smoked potato purée and a not at all spicy chili garlic sauce completed this very tasty dish:
The burger came with an Anchor Steam beer and a Rittenhouse Rye shot. Trumer Pils and a shot of 6-year Sazerac Rye paired nicely with the fried chicken. Brian gave us a taste of an unfiltered Riverboat Rye (shown in the middle) to compare with the other two Rye whiskeys:
Even though it is set in a hotel where many tourists stay, the restaurant does attract a fair number of local regulars with their excellent take on food and great bar program.
Update: Fifth Floor closed earlier this year and reopened in June, 2014 as Dirty Habit. Chef Barzigan and Bar Manager Brian Means stayed on board with the more casual gastropub.