I finally made it over to Greenpoint to check out the much-hyped Five Leaves (18 Bedford Avenue, at Lorimer & Nassau, 646-510-6467). This is the spot Heath Ledger was working on opening with some friends when he passed away. Much has been written about it (the burgers specifically, which come with a fried egg and pickled beets as garnishes and was much-loved by Greenpointers), and I'm happy to say that the food definitely lived up to the hype.
The space is interesting, squeezed onto the odd intersection of three major streets in Greenpoint, across from Automotive High School and McCarren Park, closer to the G train than the L train, and the classiest place in blocks. It's a little bit the Williamsburgification of Greenpoint, but I guess it's inevitable with all the sprawl that's happening in the Burg. It is warm and cozy, but crisp as well, with tiled floors, huge edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling and fresh purple and white tulips in small vases on each table.
The menu was filled with yummy-looking small plates, salads and main courses, all of which appealed to me. They also offer Grass-Fed Beef and Organic Chicken. I wanted to maximize my eating experience so my friend and I chose a few of the starters to share. The House Made Ricotta with Thyme, Chestnut Honey, Figs, Maldon Sea Salt and Fruit Bread was amazing. The bite of the thyme and salt combined with the sweet honey on top of creamy ricotta with a raisin nut bread was fabulous. All of those distinct flavors totally worked together.
The Proscuitto with Shaved Fennel and Pomegranate was great too. The Prosciutto was salty and flavorful, the fennel was crunchy and the scattered pomegranate seeds (a favorite of mine) were the right touch of tart to round it all out. The house-made lavosh was OK; I would have preferred something denser as this was too airy and light.
The Radicchio & Watercress Salad with Roasted Acron Squash, Feta and Red Onion was huge, and delicious. Tons of creamy feta topped the crisp greens which sat on a thick slab of squash.
The two veggie sides - Celery Root Mash and Roasted Brussel Sprouts were perhaps the best I've ever tasted. The sprouts were soft, caramelized and expertly seasoned, which the celery root was creamy and topped with a spicy Harissa butter. YUM!
I'm definitely coming back here, to try the Oysters and the Burger, and try to save room for dessert.