After reading your review of 5 Season Westside, I feel compelled to chime in and show them some love. Ive been there numerous times, and each time enjoyed an experience wildly different from the description in your review. The food has always been in the solid to exceptional range, and the service prompt and friendly. Like the other locations, the kitchen at 5 West always offers up a wide variety of eclectic menu options featuring local seasonal ingredients. Everything Ive tried has been delicious. In addition, the facility itself is really cool the best patio in the City with plenty of free parking.
More importantly, Id have to disagree with your comments about the beers. You wrote that theyve taken a step towards safety. To the contrary, Brewmaster Crawford Moran seems to consistently push the creative boundaries of beer. Currently, 5 West is pouring 2 or 3 different brews that defy stylistic convention, like the 1972 Belgian, or the Synaesthesia with wormwood, both of which are fantastic and challenging. The Oatmeal Porter is also outstanding one of the best porters Ive ever had. Porters are supposed to be easy drinking session beers, and that one nailed the style. The last time I was there, they had 12 beers on tap with a nice variety (more than any other brewpub I know of). There are definitely some easy-drinkers on the menu as you mentioned (I particularly like the Dark Star Stout), but also a few others to challenge and excite.
As far as cask ales go, Moran does more casks and a wider variety of them than any other brewer around. They serve traditional cask ale, served at proper cellar temperature and run through a real beer engine, just like a cask should be. I think 5 Seasons Westside should be commended for going the extra mile when it comes to details like this. I understand they also have some more great stuff coming down the pike, including a number of barrels aging French oak, used whiskey barrels, used wine barrels, etc. in search of truly unique flavors. So, again, rather than playing it safe, they seem to be taking things to another level. They may not succeed every time, but the reward is worth the risk when they do.
Anyway, I just wanted to step in and give some props to 5 Westside. There is no other place like it.
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