If you have lived in the Jacksonville area for a while, you might know Chef Jeffrey Forrest. He was the owner and chef of Crush, his previous Jacksonville culinary venture that opened in the first years of the 21st century. Many of his former staff went on to open Orsay. After Crush, Chef Forrest left the First Coast to work in New York City, and recently made his way back to the urban core. He teamed up with partners Hannah Alexander and Donal Hourihan to open Five Points Tavern this summer.
At Five Points Tavern, Chef Forrest creates rustic French dishes using American ingredients in a comfortable and casual setting. Trust me, this isn’t some fancy restaurant trying to push out French dishes that you can’t understand. The premise behind Five Points Tavern is to make the guest feel comfortable while serving serious food, the kind you will enjoy and remember.
There are many delicious dishes to choose from at Five Points Tavern. I decided to taste test something fit for winter. I haven’t come across many menus locally that have bouillabaisse listed, so I headed my palate in that direction.
Bouillabaisse is a classic French fish stew with a lot of history. The origins of this Mediterranean dish are legendary. The myth goes that Venus created the amazingly delicious fish stew for her husband, Vulcan, so he would fall asleep, and she could make love to Mars. With a dish that’s so iconic, Chef Forrest makes sure to use some of those classic ingredients and methods while adding his own take on the dish. A key thing for any bouillabaisse is the broth. The right blending of spices and herbs in any broth makes for a rich and complex flavor. Five Points does a wonderful job creating that flavor profile with their version. The broth is pungent with tomato, saffron & wine. The seafood is marinated in that same broth for a full 24 hours. That right there just screams bouillabaisse goodness.
A bowl of bouillabaisse at Five Points Tavern comes with deliciously cooked fish, shrimp, scallops, mussels/clams and potatoes in a nice hearty and flavorful broth and served with toasted baguettes. As you see, they don’t skimp on the seafood. It’s enough to share, and so good that you may want to order more to take home. So, do yourself a favor — grab a date and head on over to Five Points Tavern.
For more information about Five Points Tavern, go to fivepointstavern.com
To get the scoop on great places to eat check out Anthony Newkirk’s blog at devouringjax.com