Fifth Street Bar and Grill

1028 Hillside Ave, 380- 4600

Patty's parents were in town from Nanaimo and we needed a casual restaurant to take them to. Fifth St has a reputation for good quality, high-value food, in a relaxed atmosphere.

Indeed, Fifth St met its mark. We were seated quickly on the restaurant side of the establishment. Despite being a Monday evening, the restaurant was busy, with a largely family clientele. Contemporary design and broad menu clearly makes Fifth St a good option for groups.

The menu is divided into price categories: $5, $10, $15 and $20. Simplicity is a virtue and the menu is the same in both restaurant and pub. There's lots to choose from and the servings sizes generous, even in the lowest price range.  

We started with the spring rolls ($5), not exceptional, they were tasty. Patty's dad ordered the crispy oysters in miso broth ($5). Patty was suspicious of the dish and it's ability to be crispy in a broth, but he was proven wrong. The oysters were in fact, both crispy and in a broth. A value dish, the fresh tasting oysters, were abundant and the execution of the dish good.

For our large plates I had the bbq pork ribs ($20). Yummy and one of my favourites. They were cooked until the meat was falling off the bone and the thick sauce adhered well to the meat. Patty had the jambalaya risotto ($20), a humungous portion of tomato risotto topped with a chicken breast, sausage and large prawn skewers. Patty thought that cooking the  meat separately was a great idea, ensuring proper doneness.

Patty's dad had the mussel special ($10), which, when asked where they were from the server answered, "from the ocean!" Upon further prodding she revealed that they were west coast mussels, but she had no further information. They were however, plump, juicy and the broth rich. Patty's mom had the halibut special ($15), served with a coconut crust and mild Thai curry sauce. The fish was cooked properly, although this was a fairly simple dish, Patty's mom was thrilled. My mother, had the coconut prawns ($10) with yam shoestring fries. The sauce was nice, the portion of prawns reasonable and the fries were an aesthetically pleasing accompaniment.

We ordered a couple bottles of the Oxford Landing Shiraz, a very consistent wine and crowd pleaser. The wine list, albeit fairly short, was diverse, but familiar, and perfect for this style of restaurant.

Overall, Patty's parents were extremely happy with their experience, and therefore so were we. The server was pleasant and managed the group well. The prices were low and perfect for a large group. The ambiance isn't anything special, a little cookie cutter, but is fine for what it is.

Patty says...

Fifth St has an open kitchen. You see lots of new restaurants nowadays that are going to the open kitchen style format. Not only is it nice to see a little showmanship, it also insures that the kitchen is spotlessly clean. The only problem I have with the open kitchen concept is the fact that when I am in the kitchen at work, I curse like a drunken sailor. Not so great in a family style restaurant.

  Reviewed: November 7, 2005