This is not a typo: Rockefeller Center is one of the hottest neighborhoods right now for restaurants, and we’re even talking about the concourse level. Five Acres has joined the ranks of new restaurants, with pedigreed teams, who know their food and wine. Foodies who have never eaten above 14th Street are now in the house. This is the Five Acres restaurant review.
If you’re wondering if people are back in the office, all you need to do is walk around Rockefeller Center on any given weekday. Rockefeller Center is one of those places that actually became better after the pandemic. RIP Seafire Grill, Bouchon, and Brasserie Ruhlmann, to name a few restaurants that were in residence for ages at Rockefeller Center. But if we’re being honest, none of these predecessors were anything that would make you go out of your way if you weren’t directly in the area. However, that’s all changed. With the openings of Le Rock, Jupiter, Lodi, and Five Acres, I would say that Rockefeller Center is the place to be.
Five Acres is the venture of Brooklyn-based chef Greg Baxtrom, who is known for his restaurants Olmsted and Maison Yaki. It’s interesting he’s doing the reverse commute; the trend is actually to move to Brooklyn, not from it. But nothing will ever beat Manhattan, because if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. So how does the new-ish Five Acres restaurant measure up? I’m going to take a rather unpopular view and say that, in a nutshell, it was ok.
When I originally made my Friday night reservation at Five Acres restaurant, I thought that it was in place of the previous Seafire Grill. While I wasn’t a big fan of Seafire, it did have a great view of the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. However, I was surprised that the location of Five Acres is an open format to the concourse, with no view of the rink whatsoever. In fact, it’s in the old Starbucks space, and open to all the train commuters rushing back and forth. For a casual weekday lunch this is fine, but the atmosphere didn’t quite match the ambition of the menu at Five Acres.
That’s not to say that the decor isn’t stylish. In fact they do beautiful job of honoring the Art Deco history of Rockefeller Center while blending it with modern warm Scandinavian design. The furniture is the one aspect of the atmosphere that actually speaks fine dining, with a unique green and high-end earthy vibe throughout. Overall though, it’s totally open concept in a busy commuting concourse just didn’t speak to an elegant dining experience.
As for the crowd, there are people that have come from all regions of the world, including those who never eat above 14th Street. You can tell that there are serious foodies too, who are there to check out Five Acres restaurant. So as long as you can keep yourself focused on the people actually dining in Five Acres, (and not the commuters rushing by) it’s a good people-watching scene.
I try to avoid leaving Manhattan, even though I know I’m missing out big given all the top restaurants opening in Brooklyn. I work my butt off to live in Manhattan, so it takes something super special to get me to leave for an outer borough. However, when I heard a Brooklyn chef actually was coming to Manhattan, I was pumped to get a piece of the culinary action. I walked in fully wanting to love the food, and ready to give a high mark on my tough grading scale.
I have to say that it was the food that disappointed me the most, out of all the components of Five Acres. The menu was totally my wheelhouse too, with an elevated American theme. I wanted to order one of each on the menu, and luckily my dinner companions were game too. But this is how I felt about our selections; first the broccoli cheddar soup with the homemade cheez its. I grew up in the Midwest, so the thought of the cheez its was enough to get me excited. The whole dish was too salty, and nothing unique from what you could get at a grab and go spot.
I had high hopes for the Oysters Vanderbilt, because it comes out with a glass cover and smokes for theatrics as it’s laid on the table. I could barely eat one. I rarely comment on cost, but $16 for a piece of bread cut in half was a little insulting. I know there’s all that fancy butter but it wasn’t enough to excuse the underwhelming portion size.
The Arctic char and lobster trio we ordered were unremarkable; I couldn’t pick either out of a lineup, except for the lobster dumplings. I had never met a lobster dumpling I didn’t like, until the Five Acres dumpling which was an unrecognizable mince of lobster filling. The biggest disappointment was the rutabaga fettuccini alfredo with clams. I wanted to love this dish but it was just a creamy mess. A little citrus and herb would have gone a long way to improving the heaviness of the dish. All of the food tried so hard, and lacked the effortlessness that should have shown through with such an experienced team.
I feel bad giving such a down review because the people there, from the host all the way to the servers, were so lovely. They are clearly passionate about what they’re shipping at Five Acres. The service by far was the highest point of my experiences.
I would stay out of here for dinner. I’m not saying don’t go, but I wouldn’t allot a prime time on my dining slot for Five Acres restaurant.
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Q: Where is Five Acres restaurant located?
A: Located in: Rockefeller Center
Q: What are the hours of operation?
|Wednesday||8 AM–2 PM, 4–10 PM|
|Thursday||8 AM–2 PM, 4–10 PM|
|Friday||8 AM–2 PM, 4–10 PM|
|Saturday||8 AM–2 PM, 4–10 PM|
|Tuesday||8 AM–2 PM, 4–10 PM|
Q: Is there a dress code?
A: Although this is a fine dining restaurant, there’s no set dress code for Five Acres restaurant. You can wear anything from jeans to formal attire.