Yupples Restaurant Review
Avenue 5 Restaurant and Bar
Avenue 5 offers American cuisine with a continental flare. The restaurant, while trying hard and delivering, does not necessarily set itself apart from the multitude of other restaurants that are offering the same thing- same ambiance, same price, same food quality.
We made 8 pm reservations on a Friday night. The restaurant was lively, both at the bar and at the tables. The restaurant is fairly big, positioned almost in an “L” shape. The restaurant was fairly full.
The restaurant menu read well, continental with a good mixture of fish, meat and vegetable options. The wine menu was also very well priced and offered decent variety. Unfortunately, we tried three wines off the menu, and found all to be subpar. In fact, the reason we tried three different wines was because the bottle we ordered, while not bad in the sense that it needed to be sent back, was bad in the sense that we could not drink it. We opted for two different glasses in the bottle’s place, both of which were mediocre, but drinkable. However, we got out of there, for one bottle and two glasses, for less than $90.
Both of us wanted to try the Wild Mushroom Tortellini for our starters, but for the sake of diversity I opted for the Wild Greens Salad instead. The salad was exactly as it read, mixed greens, some spiced and sweetened pecans, some cheese and light dressing. The salad was ok. The greens were ok, not exceptional. The dressing was nice and light, but possibly too light. The Chef distributed an ample amount of cheese and pecans. The pecans were really the highlight of the dish, and if all the components were taken together- the pecans, the cheese and the greens, the salad was fairly good. But, the salad was uninventive and boring- really something you could get anywhere or make at home.
The tortellini was, in general, very good. The corn and pasta were very fresh and flavorful. Some complaints of the dish were that the sauce could have had a little more Madeira overtone and have been thickened up a little, and the grapes were not Champagne grapes, but were regular, grocery store red grapes. Overall, a very good dish; that being said, there are some restaurants that do this dish with such delicate and such layered flavors that it was fairly noticeable that this dish did not match that quality. Regardless, we would recommend this appetizer.
For our entrees we ordered the trout wrapped in bacon and the pork chop. We ordered the pork chop cooked through, and it came out nice and cooked, but a tad burnt on the edges. The burnt edges, though, were not such a distraction as to completely detract from the flavorful meal. The pork was well cooked and not dry; the Brussel sprouts were nicely softened and not overly buttered or oiled. The figs were soft and offered a nice combination if taken with a bite of the pork in the slightly sweet apple gastrique. The potatoes were good, but a little heavy in flavor for the pork.
The trout was also good. The bacon added texture and flavor to a well prepared and fresh fish.
We ordered the Blueberry Bread Pudding to end the evening. The dessert was simply so-so. The bread pudding was an individually prepared round cake with almost a crumb top. The blueberries were ok, tasting a little too dried out and not at all fresh. We finished the dessert, because it was not bad and because we love dessert, not because it was the best dessert we have ever had.
The décor was tasteful, if unoriginal. The colors were neutral, the pictures (hung unevenly) were black and white and trying to be artistic, but the contemporary restaurant was very comfortable and pleasant.
Our waiter was definitely a nice guy, but not the most impressive waiter we have ever had. We were not provided butter knives, so used our regular knives for butter, but then not offered clean knives for our appetizers. Service was then fine, until the end of the evening when we were not offered coffee or tea. So, while our waiter and the bussers were very attentive, the question remains whether they were trained properly.
This restaurant surprised us a little bit. We did not expect the food to be as good as it was (we began the evening with really low expectations), but there is nothing to set this restaurant apart from other restaurants. It seems that San Diego is full of decent, somewhat trendy, yet sort of personality-lacking restaurants. While Avenue 5 served food that was better than anticipated, the restaurant stands near the top of a very large pack of just-ok restaurants.