Jumping around from Park Slope apartment to Park Slope apartment in the 80s, we knew we had hit bottom when we wound up in a small one-bedroom off of dreaded Fifth Avenue—a dirty syringe-strewn commercial dead end, home to a handful of run-down bodegas and a grimy Met Foods. Of course now, we’d all but kill to have our centrally located garden rental back, mere steps away from Stone Park Café and the beloved beer and doggie haven, The Gate—and that’s what’s become of just that one revitalized block of Fifth Avenue.
Since our middle school days, it’s developed into the veritable dining hub that tony Seventh Avenue never was (and still isn’t), teeming with notable institutions such as al di la, and buzzy newcomers like Bricolage. And that’s why Taste of Fifth—which took place last night at the lavish Grand Prospect Hall—is the ultimate celebration of Fifth Avenue’s impressive restaurant revolution, gathering over 40 of the area’s best eateries together for an evening of eclectic bites and made-in-Brooklyn libations.
Standout snacks and drinks included smoked baby back ribs from Benchmark, briny bivalves from Grand Central Oyster Bar, spicy quesadillas made on blue masa harina tortillas from Taco Santo, luscious arepas from Bogota Latin Bistro, citrusy tuna ceviche from Los Pollitos, ropa vieja from Fleischer’s, inventive fried beef tendon topped with beef carpaccio and white anchovies from Bricolage, double chocolate bread pudding from Du Jour, a gin-and-whiskey tasting flight from Breuckelen Distilling, and a kale-spinach-honeydew juice from Pure. Plus, we had the chance to groove to smooth tunes from Middle School 51’s seriously stellar jazz band, so it became increasingly hard to remember a time when drug dealers ruled the local playgrounds, and good eats meant a 25-cent water, a pack of Doritos, and a stale Hostess Sno-Ball from the corner deli.