BROOKLYN, NY — Five Leaves is a “hipster” bistro in the up-and-coming but still edgy Greenpoint section of Brooklyn at the corner of Lorimer Street and Bedford Avenue across from McCarren Park.
Located at 18 Bedford Avenue, it opened in 2008, serving contemporary food, American/Australian, with vegan and gluten options. There are sidewalk tables in the warmer months and a walk up coffee window.
The restaurant was conceived of as hangout by the actor Heath Ledger for him and his friends.
Ledger lived with his family in the Boerum Hill area but spent a good deal of time in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. He spotted the triangular-shaped building on Bedford Avenue one day and had an idea to put in a coffee shop where he and his friends could meet up. The idea evolved into a bar-restaurant that would server locally-grown and organic food with an Australian vibe — Ledger was born in Perth, Western Australia.
After Ledger died in January 2008, the fate of the project was left in limbo. His partners in the venture — Jud Mongell, and Scott Campbell — secured additional financing when Ledger’s family released funds from the actor’s estate to complete the project. Nine months later, Five Leaves opened on September 17, 2008.
The triangular space is built out with a nautical theme: the bar is shaped like the front of a ship, there are hand-made light fixtures and nautical scenes carved into the tables. The door to the bathrooms is an old boiler room door.
There are plans underway to open more
Australian accents Five Leaves across the United States.
It was a warm evening so we passed on sitting inside, grabbing a table and rickety chairs out front on the sidewalk running along Bedford Avenue.
Unable to decide between the Devils on Horseback (bacon-wrapped medjool dates with habanero vincotto & almond) and the local cheese board (goat cheese, Manchego cheese, apple, celery, golden raisin mostarda and fruit-nut bread), I ordered both. If you must pick just one, the bacon-wrapped dates are an ironical must-try; dates are most popular in the Middle East where wrapping them in bacon is definitely haram (forbidden).
For an entree, I had the Grilled Marinated Hanger Steak with broccoli rabe, celery root mash & harissa butter. The meat was a little tough to chew, the nature of hanger steak. The celery root mash mixed nicely with the spices on the hanger steak.
Of course, half the fun is people watching and having the rather interesting lives of Brooklynite hipsters broadcast to you while you dine. One mistake was sitting outside too close to the heavily-trafficked coffee window where there were a few near-missed with patrons on roller-skates.
Having gone with the dates for an opener it seemed only right to close with the Sticky Date Pudding, with warm toffee sauce & vanilla ice cream and a cup of their “leadfoot” coffee.
All in all, a nice way to spend a warm Spring evening in Brooklyn.