Always a surprise when a place lives up to its hype. We've been to 5 Ninth twice now - once for dinner and once for brunch. Quite liked the beautiful, pared down space with its minimalistic, Meat Market industrial country aesthetic, and found that the food artfully balances SE Asian and Chinese influences with the freshest Mediterranean and American (North and Central) ingredients. In contrast to what we find in so many East meets West fusion approaches, nothing (so far) has emerged from this kitchen to our table overly sweet. In fact the approach to fusion itself here not at all fetishized but quite organic, creative and damn tasty. Worth noting is that the first level has a bar and outdoor tables; there's a bar on the second floor with some loungy tables, and a dining room another floor up. Except for perfect outdoorsy days, such say today, the top floor is likely most comfortable for dining.
A recent brunch in the garden included superb Berkshire pork on grilled bread with poached eggs and a pickled cilantro hollandaise - well timed as it was after a spinning class and before softball in the Park. We also tried the Shanghai Noodles: a complex, delicious broth with yes, noodles, Chinese broccoli and more Berkshire pork. An order of steamed pork dumplings impressed us too - leagues better than any other variation on that theme we've tried.
Dinner quite good as well, even if we were made to wait a while (45 min?) in spite of having had a reservation. It was a weekday night and the place overflowed with young and beautiful but some convincing threats from one in our party (not me!) did finally secure us a seat. A spicy greens salad (with bleu cheese and corn) to start was less successful than the other app: perfectly grilled octopus. Roast black bass in a coconut milk broth as a main had great flavor and texture, though of what the other main consisted I no longer recall. A peanut butter ice cream something for dessert seemed to please the sweet tooth in the group, but e'er the serious diner I forwent such nonsense, opting instead for a third glass of the Movia Pinot Grigio from Slovenia - minerals, white fruits and a touch of honey.
Nice spot, and best brunch we've had in ages - perhaps it's the novelty but I did much prefer it to Prune's.