Five Points. Beefy, Bloody, Texas Bull.
*UPDATE: Five Points is now called Vic's. We do not know the whether the bloody marys remain the same.* This is the Buzzed Assassin reporting in. My most recent foray into the world of Bloody Marys brought me to Five Points, a well respected and reviewed restaurant in the NoHo NYU area of the City. I arrived with the Tomato and, as we waited for our third, The French Girl (a close friend of the Assassin who was being inducted into the world of Bloody Mary focused brunches), I noted that this place was packed. And I mean to the brim. I could barely hear the pop music playing over the bustling buzz of the restaurant, an observation that initially filled me with a bit of concern. I have noted in the past that sometimes, when a place gets popular, it can indolently rest on its laurels, and as a result, the quality of offerings suffer. At Five Points, both the crowd and the music seemed to imply that the hype would not be lived up to. But since I had read that the Bloodys were above average, I was still hoping for a good libation experience.
After a few minutes, The French Girl arrived, and we were directed to our seats. I was glad that we made our brunch reservation with OpenTable, as it allowed us to be taken directly to our table without dealing with the forty minute wait that walk-ins were apparently being subjected to. I was surprised when we were led to a nice sunlit table not far from the kitchen, a surprise that was complimented by the sudden change in music from throwaway pop singles to early 90s hip hop. So as we perused the drinks menu, serenaded by the sounds of A Tribe Called Quest, we saw that Five Points had quite a selection of Marys. While the Tomato went for the Rosemary Bloody (see the Tomato's splendiferous review above), I decided to go with the Texas Bull, a twist on the Mary that used Tito's Vodka (a Texas distilled vodka) and beef bouillon. I was intrigued by what the bouillon might do to the overall flavor. How would it stack up against the dashes of Worcestershire sauce classically found in your everyday Bloody? I would soon find out.
Shortly after ordering, we received our drinks and proceeded to enjoy. It was not difficult to pick up the savory kick that the bouillon added to the overall mix. I was concerned that maybe we had a situation of a Mary being completely defined by one flavor, a sad state of affairs too often present in the current State of the Bloody Mary Union. However, mixing the Mary definitely helped the overall balance. The tomato juice flavor came out more, which helped balance the horseradish, though there was only a decent amount of spiciness despite the fact that horseradish was visible. A good vodka pour also helped the overall balance. However, even after mixing, the taste of beef bouillon was strong. Strong like bull, even. (Yes, I am aware of how horrid that joke is; if you wish, you may proceed to pelt me with cow pies and assorted Texas Longhorns merch.)
Overall, I feel that, while mixing did help, the bouillon was just a tad too strong and prevented me from really enjoying what should have been a nice Bloody twist, and not a Bloody that was simply holding its own against this particularly flavorful ingredient. Also, I was a bit disappointed that it took my own swirling to better balance the flavors, as I feel a bartender should present an imbiber with his/her own best efforts. But I will cut them a bit of slack and chalk this up to their being busy with what had to be a large tonnage of orders from the demanding brunch crowd. While I really wanted to give this effort a better rating, I can only give the Five Points Texas Bullcelery stalks.
Five Points 31 Great Jones St., New York, New York 10012-1178. P: (212) 253-5700.