Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We continued the night after Circolo and went to 5A5 for Happy Hour. They have different HH specials every weekday night. It was déjà vu as we drove down the street. I swear that I have been here before. My gut instincts were correct, I have been to this location to its predecessor restaurant. The decor is almost the exact same except the bar area. That night we were going to have some fun in the bar area and a few nights later we would be back for Dine About Town. As soon as you enter the doors you see the enclosed flame along the entrance and the video flame background behind the bar. Their lounge area was pretty packed that Friday, but we were able to get a table in the corner.

They have different Happy Hour Specials on different nights. It was Friday when we went and they had Lobster Dumpling in a Soy Broth for $2 a piece/order. Since I am such a huge fan of lobster, I was in heaven. Little did I know that it had a strong ginger flavor, but for lobster... I could take it. O=9 Ms. Lin enjoyed the saltiness and lobster. I thought it was a bit over salty but still an awesome deal. A little saltiness should bring out the natural sweetness of the lobster but too much would overpower the taste.
The best deal that they have for HH is a choice of 2 Shooters for $5. There are only 3 choices. Hamachi comes with Avocado and Ginger with foam. Poke was Tuna, Maui Onions, Sesame Seeds, and Shredded Seaweed. Oyster was paired with Watermelon and Shiso. We both had the Hamachi but I chose Oyster and Ms. Lin chose Poke. Ironically, I thought the Poke and Oyster were the most unique. All three were solid and a great deal for HH. The Poke was quite fragrant and savory. My Oyster was very refreshing and light. A nice combination of fruit and herb to bring out the natural sweetness of the oyster.
These shooters are definitely worth trying because they are regularly pretty pricey as I found out when I was at 5A5 for Dine SF. Keep in mind that these are TINY bites. I zoomed really close to get these shots so beware, objects may appear way larger than they are in real life. Still, I really like the presentation of these shooters. Although they were in a real hurry to take back the place of salt for their next order... oh well. I wish I had ordered more before the time ran out, but there is always next time. O=9
Since Ms. Lin and I are such huge fans of truffles that we succumb to order any dish that mentions the ingredient. We agreed to try the Truffle Fries for $5 served with a Sriracha Aioli. The fries were extremely fragrant and there seemed to be little chopped up bits of truffle sprinkled on top... the fries... well they were a whole other story. I was extremely disappointed at how unappetizing the fries looked. They were thick steak fries with the skins on but they were droopy and a pal brown-yellow color. One look and I knew that I was in for a let down. The only thing that semi-redeemed it was dipping it in the aioli. Without the sauce, this dish would be just a complete disaster.
I fell for the description of Beef Carpaccio Roll, $5. It's Shredded Jicama with Beef Carpaccio wrapped around it along with slices of Avocado on top and a dot of Sriracha on top. For the sauce they used Ponzu and an herb oil for flavor. The concept might sound great on paper but it failed to come together in the end. What I found to be the problem was that nothing was strong in flavor to stick out or enhance the ingredient's natural taste. If you break down the components, you'd find out that all of the ingredients are very subtle or even bland to the palette and all of them together just washes all the flavor out. Jicama is a very watery vegetable that is light and avocado is delicious in a subtle way, but a stronger ingredient would be needed to make the dish pop. Even the beef was watered down and flavorless. I tried drenching the roll in the sauce but nothing can salvage the taste. I definitely wouldn't get this again. Poor Ms. Lin had to clean up the mess again and finish this bland dish.
All in all 5A5 had some interesting options for Happy Hour. It was a very chilled, laid-back, yet modern environment. The place was pretty packed Friday night and everyone seemed to be having fun. I would definitely come back just for the shooters again, they are definitely worth the trip! The price difference from dining room and HH is so great that when I go next time I am ordering 10 of those yummy snacks! ^_^ It's also worth checking out the different HH specials they offer daily. Too bad we were a little over drinking by this point or we would order a cocktail to go along with the snacks. Finding places that offer a good or decent HH in SF has been a difficult task and after trying to find better places or even more choices I have come to appreciate 5A5 more. Nonetheless, I came back for Dine SF and we all had a nice time.

5A5 Steak Lounge
244 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 989-2539


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