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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fifth Floor: Keeping the Hotel Restaurant Fresh

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 10:00 AM


click to enlarge Fifth Floor's pork shoulder (left) and pork belly with peaches, bourbon foam, and, well, a whole lot of stuff. - KIMBERLY SANDIE
  • Kimberly Sandie
  • Fifth Floor's pork shoulder (left) and pork belly with peaches, bourbon foam, and, well, a whole lot of stuff.

Most of the news about hotel restaurants in San Francisco these days isn't gushy. The Ritz-Carlton is reformulating its high-end restaurant, Michael Mina moved his flagship restaurant out of the Westin St. Francis, and many of the prominent hotel restaurants from 10 years ago are locked in a cage of media silence. High-profile chefs like Dominique Crenn and Greg Dunmore have been leaving hotel restaurants to open their own, quirkier places.

So it's welcome to see David Bazirgan, who was last the chef of Chez Papa Resto, join Fifth Floor in the Palomar Hotel in order to cook timely, creative food -- the subject of this week's full-length review.

Bazirgan's food is intricate, wide-ranging, and sometimes too ornate. (Also a sign of the times.) It's no drop-in spot -- the more casual food he's preparing for the restaurant's lounge isn't really going to reel in the locals -- but Bazirgan is doing the now-rare feat of keeping the hotel's reputation as a destination vibrant.

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