The First Friday crush and fine dining at Five Fifty-Five on Congress Street are worlds apart. Practically ducking in as if to take cover, it was another world inside Five-Fifty Five and dinner, of course, was superb.
Fine dining, art galleries and shops along the pathway of the thick crowds that descended on Congress Street for First Friday Art Walk and you had a scene that was more apocalyptic rummage sale than art appreciation. We were on our way to Five Fifty-Five for dinner, which is dead center in all the activity, and foolishly I thought we’d do the gallery walk beforehand. Dumb idea. Some of the galleries were actually closed — probably very few red dots got posted on gallery walls that evening — and those open were nearly inaccessible.
That Congress Street was turned into a pedestrian mall — a favorite gimmick of urban planners to bring life to urban downtowns — contributed, unfortunately, to the prevailing flea market atmosphere. At best the First Friday event in recent years has become littered with street vendors and peddlers while the earnest art dealers valiantly promote established and emerging artists. I love all the activity and downtown style, but we could do without street bands, strippers, dancers and even a table set up with what looked like drug paraphernalia.
Practically ducking in as if to take cover, it was another world inside Five-Fifty Five — cool, calm and creamily civilized — and dinner, of course, was superb. Each dish in its own right was a work of art. The restaurant is still at the top of its game and one of the best of all the 5-star restaurants in the city as Matt Ginn, executive chef, and chef and co-proprietor Steve Corry work their magic in the small open kitchen. With Michelle Corry at the front of the house and their very able wait staff serving diners, the restaurant is precision run.
Instead of doing a traditional review, take a look at the divergence of the First Friday Art Walk and dinner within.