Bar on Fifth is the Jazz Bar at The Setai Fifth Avenue, with jazz performed nightly 8-11pm. While we originally considered going out for dinner and taking advantage of the Maserati house car service, we decided to stay in since we enjoy jazz and I noticed a 40% off coupon ($50 for the price of $30) on Yelp, which would help compensate for the pricey menu that goes with the territory of an upscale hotel bar. In fact, with the coupon, especially if you and your dining partner each get the coupon and split the bill, I'd recommend Bar on Fifth over many of the dinner options for NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2013. It would make a great date night for any couples who enjoy jazz and want a more romantic, upscale setting and craft cocktails.
Since the munchkin eats early, we arrived a bit after 6pm on a Saturday evening. Even at that early hour, there were quite a few groups seated and sipping cocktails and nibbling on small plates. There seemed to be a mix of hotel guests and well heeled locals enjoying a night on the town. Most were dressed up, although a few were very casually dressed.
We found a comfortable couch that we seated ourselves at, and a friendly server came over, placing some tasty popcorn, olives and candied walnuts at our place and handing us food and drink menus. It was quite dark, so I couldn't get good photos of the menu, though here's an attempt at one half of it:
As soon as I spotted mini gougeres, I ordered them. While very mini indeed, the presentation was cute, in a little red enamel dish, and they were piping hot. The munchkin would have happily eaten all nine if we'd let him.
For mains, we ordered a Croque Madame sandwich for the munchkin: French ham, gruyere cheese inside with creamy bechamel sauce and a fried egg on top, served with a mesclun side salad. Bar on Fifth's version can't of course compete with the best I've had in Paris, but the ingredients were high quality and it was a good, filling choice for $16.
My husband and I were also pretty hungry, so we split a 12 oz. filet mignon ordered medium, which came well charred with asparagus and bordelaise sauce and parmesan fries. I'm not a huge steak eater, but even I could discern the much better quality of the filet mignon compared to some of the other steaks I've had. The parmesan fries were excellent. If I had to nitpick, I thought the bordelaise sauce was a bit thin and could have benefitted from better reduction of the demi glace used in it.
Incredibly after all this, we decided we were still hungry enough to share two desserts, so we went for the apple crumble with vanilla bean ice cream, and a chocolate cake with hazelnut cream and raspberry coulis. The apple crumble was textbook and very good, but not overly memorable.
The chocolate cake was our favorite, with its layers of genoise, and chocolate buttercream, finished with chocolate fondant, hazelnut cream and fresh raspberries and served with whipped cream and raspberry coulis. If you went to Bar on Fifth later in the evening, this cake would be perfect to share, alongside your choice of cocktail or, if you don't drink, some tea or coffee.
We were happy that the jazz started right on time at 8pm, so we were able to stay and listen to some of it before it was time to put the munchkin to bed. And fortunately, that bed was just an elevator ride away! Definitely a great staycation :-)
Here's a quick clip below to give you a feel for the jazz. I liked the set we heard, and it was played at just the right volume so that it was still easy to hold a conversation.
Been to the Bar on Fifth at The Setai Fifth Avenue in NYC? What did you think of the jazz, cocktails, and menu?