Classic Tables: Five Points

Before the Bowery was trendy, there was this shining star

It's hard to imagine a time when you could walk within 100 yards of a restaurant without tripping over the seasonal, farm-related adjectives pouring out the doors. But that was the case back when the Bowery was a great place to stumble upon a used crack vial.

When they opened Five Points in 1999, chef Marc Meyer and his wife, Vicki Freeman, probably weren't expecting to help usher in two trends–the Greenmarketing of New York restaurants and the bourgeoisification of Noho.

They simply created the kind of restaurant the neighborhood needed–and still needs–with their cozy dining room, friendly service and a Mediterranean-inflected American menu so seasonal that it changes daily.

Inside, there's a bar flanked by massive floral arrangements and a dining room bisected by a fountain fashioned from a log. The best seats in the house are at the chef's table near the open kitchen (pictured) and the nook at the end of the bar (our favorite spot).

The dozen or so dishes on Meyer's menu consistently include oysters, a market-driven soup, buttermilk-marinated chicken and lots of wood-oven-roasted meat and fish. Lately, they've been serving a terrific salad of Lollo Rosso lettuces with blue cheese dressing, radishes and smoked bacon ($10).

Seasonal accompaniments like roasted-apricot salsa, fresh corn polenta, and scallion butter would be begging for food-Twittering if the surroundings weren't so unpretentious.

Apparently, that's Five Points's recipe for success: It's of the moment without falling victim to it.

Five Points, 31 Great Jones St. (between Lafayette St. and the Bowery); 212-253-5700