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Brew Review

Giving a High “Five” to Mobile, Alabama

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By Joni Williams

 

Oh, the power of advertising.

 

After seeing Five’s delicious full page spread running month after month right here in Beachcomber, we decided we absolutely had to check out their closest location on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Alabama.

 

Turns out, this is a most charming area of Mobile, filled with one-way streets, tree-lined avenues and the breezy Southern-style architecture of days gone by. Five is particularly handsome, with its rich-looking wood, window boxed greenery, open-air sidewalk seating and classic brick walls inside and out. Did we mention we have a particular fondness for brick decor? Which wouldn’t mean squat if the service and menu weren’t up to par. And we had nothing to go on but the Beachcomber ad.

 

Open every day but Monday, Five opens at 5 p.m. for dinner. Lunch is served Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and brunch Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. When we got there late on a Friday afternoon, it was literally packed to capacity—always a good sign when trying to size up a place.

 

Despite the crowd, we were greeted and seated as soon as we stepped inside, even though we made it clear we were just “here for the beer.” And what a beer list it is. Staying true to its name of “five,” that’s how the menu is offered—five entrees, five starters, five red wines, five whites and so on…there was a choice of five mainstream beers and five local(ish) or “Southern” crafts.

 

This is where it got interesting, because except for Grayton Beer’s 30A Beach Blonde and Abita’s Amber, the selections, though limited, aren’t the same tried-and-true staples you’ll find on local menus. The Causeway IPA gave us real pause, as we’ve continuously found Fairway Brewing Co. to be a producer of mighty tasty brews.

 

We opted for Orpheus’ Atalanta (not Atlanta, mind you) Saison at the suggestion of our server, but only because we couldn’t decide between it and the locally produced IPA by Mobile’s own Haint Blue Brewing. What can we say? We’re not exactly known for our decisiveness even when faced with a mere five choices.

 

If you’re a fan of sour beers, or are just brewfully adventurous, this is a beer you absolutely must try. It’s a wild child of an ale that isn’t flavor shy. It’s tongue-puckering tart while packed with a full-spectrum richness that somehow tastes clean.

 

Instead of playing it safe, we paired it with heat—a well-spiced baked avocado mounded with bacon and plump Gulf shrimp. And it blew our collective mind.  Who knew an already near-perfect food like avocado could be made so much better?

 

We weren’t at all hungry and had only ordered the dish to fill out a photo. The original plan was to take enough bites to capture the flavor in a few words but leave most of the dish untouched. Instead, we ended up scarfing it beyond the last bite. Seriously, we were scraping the empty avocado shell with a spoon lest we missed any precious morsels. Even the accompanying bed of crunchy field greens that may have been plated merely as decoration, found its way into our bellies.

 

Turns out this dish was created by Yoshi, Harbor Docks’ much-revered sushi chef. Her son, Chris Eddings, has partnered with none other than Charles Morgan III at the Five locations. And they’ll soon take over Five’s neighboring space with yet another new eatery. We didn’t know all this until we hit Mobile.

 

It’s worth mentioning that over the years we’ve gushed over Morgan’s other restaurants—particularly Harbor Docks and Camille’s—in other publications. The seafood is truly the freshest, and the establishments are clean and well run. It’s pretty dang hard to find anything to nitpick about.

 

If we hadn’t have liked Five, you’d probably never know about it. You’d be reading about some other place somewhere else. It’s like our momma always told us—“If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all.” But Five checks all the boxes—superb food, outstanding service, great beer choices, and then some.

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