Best Unhealth-Food Item - 2003
Niman Ranch Pork Belly at the Fifth Floor
Pea sprouts and mung beans are all well and good, but sometimes you want something that's as bad for your body as it is good for your soul. The possibilities and temptations are limitless -- a blood-rare bacon cheeseburger with a side of Cherry Garcia leaps immediately to mind -- but when you want to enrapture your taste buds as well as your stomach, head up to the Fifth Floor and order the Niman Ranch pork belly. The first time we ordered this dish, the waiter said, "I just want to let you know that the pork is poached in its own fat for several hours, and, well, this isn't what you'd call a light dish." "Bring it on," we said. After the lengthy poaching process is completed, Executive Chef Laurent Gras (his last name means "fat," for God's sake) roasts the belly until its skin is exquisitely crisp. The result: a dreamy dish of creamy, fat-laden pig flesh given extra depth and richness by the earthy essence of black truffles. Its lush character is an excellent match for the Fifth Floor's all-encompassing elegance.