If Five fell in the woods would anyone hear it?
It just keeps getting better and better to be a writer in the dining blogosphere. But first . . . BRAVO to Vincent Francoual for his great post last week and for having the stones and smarts to simply chime in and set us all straight. Here's a radical idea: Put down your mouse and keyboard and call his restaurant and make a reservation. Sounds like a great way to support local chef- and owner-operated restaurants. My pals the Macks (whom I trust on these matters without hesitation since I have been eating with Aaron for forty years) went there last week and told me they had a killer meal. I love this restaurant and haven't been for nine months thanks to a silly schedule and new parenthood, but I am going to make my reservation, and you should too.
Speaking of Vincent, FIve has closed its doors, in case you have not heard, and no one, and I mean no one really cares. Why, you ask? Because the restaurant was only worth eating in when the Woodmans were there. Once they got the boot, and it wasn't because the food wasn't good, it became a pointlessly open white elephant. I wonder how the chef who took over is handling all this? That's the sad part . . . Will the building be sold? Converted into condos? I am so eager to be posting about other things, happier stories, more engaging ideas, but this was too big to ignore. Somewhere in Minneapolis the Woodmans just popped a bottle of champagne.
Moving on . . . Oh, and one last thought: The idea that a restaurateur can let a chef go and/or change concepts without closing the restaurant's doors for at least sixty or ninety days and reopening as a new venue is crazy. Goodfellows and Five both tried and it didn't work . . . and when Jason took over at Goodfellows it was yummy, and it still couldn't sustain itself. Five's new chef (old chef?) didn't even have a chance—that place was dead before he unpacked his knives. Give Harvey at Levain credit for one thing—closing and reopening is the way to go, and if he ever does reopen, he has a better chance than had he never closed at all.
Just think of all the great chefs without stoves . . . Seth, Stewart, Steven . . . . The guys at Town Talk should buy Five and reopen it with Steven doing a restaurant like Taylor's Automatic Refresher (in SF). That would work over there, don't you think? Hmmmmm . . . .