by Damon Noisette // photo by Agnes Lopez
Riverside’s Five Points draws diners from around the city with a panoply of options ranging from Asian fusion and seafood to reimagined Southern fare. The newest addition to the neighborhood’s roster of restaurants is Five Points Tavern, a 106-seat restaurant that opened in early August, surprising many in the neighborhood who had just gotten used to the lights being off in what was formerly O’Brothers Irish Pub.
Chef Jeffrey Forrest and his two partners, Hannah Alexander and Donal Hourihan, renovated the hundred-year-old building, lightening up the space with fresh white paint and light wood tables. The same general layout remains, with a covered bar outside and a bar and two separate dining spaces inside. The Tavern serves specialty cocktails and has 12 beers on tap.
Longtime residents of the historic district might remember Forrest from his time in the kitchen at Crush, the small French bistro on Park Street that gave way to Orsay. His newest restaurant primarily serves American cuisine cooked with European techniques; it’s dishes you’ll recognize, prepared with the finesse that comes from an expert chef and staff.
Experience shows in the Tavern’s varied menu, with starters like the stuffed piquillo peppers ($9), which are a must; the short rib filling is dense and succulent, just as the white wine broth of the Tavern mussels ($11) is perfect for dipping your bread. Some would consider the grilled octopus ($9) an adventurous choice, though the multi-tentacled mollusks have been showing up on more and more menus of late.
Guests with a meat and potatoes diet would be pleased with the wood-fired New York strip ($29), which comes in a 12-ounce portion with two sides. There’s also an 8-ounce brisket blend burger ($13) and a pan-roasted chicken ($18) that sits atop a hearty mashed potato portabella confit.
Another area of the menu to consider is the pasta, specifically the tagliatelle entrée ($18). It’s a fettuccine-like dish that is served with a savory French-style lamb ragout, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and hints of black truffle.
The key lime semifreddo ($7) is an inventive take on a Floridian dessert staple, making it a kind-of-frozen delight. Other safe bets are the Tavern’s crème brulee ($7) and salted chocolate mousse with butterscotch drizzle ($7).