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FIve Things: The Fifth Element, Newport

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Sometimes you just can sense when a restaurant is hitting its stride... even all the way from Newport to Providence. Sean DeBobes crossed the bridge to check in at The Fifth Element, one of the newest comers on Broadway's restaurant row. Here are the five things he wants you to know.

One. Pizzas.

I'd heard the buzz that local chefs loved the thin-crust creations coming out of Frank Doyle's brick oven, and I wasn't disappointed. There's nothing like a super fresh, assured Margherita on a spring night (or any night, for that matter), and I equally love a spicy eggplant and roasted onion pizza wtih capers, rosemary, and delicate fontina.

Two. The feel of the place.

You could call it ambience, but that's too old-Newport and fussy. Part of the fun of Fifth Element is the assured modernity of the place. There's a long bar, great cocktails (I'm marking a spot on my weekly calendar just to have the Element Martini, a pairing of Ciroc vodka and a splash of Welch's grape juice), and a local crowd that feels just hip enough. It's the new Newport, and welcome and what cheer to that!

Three. Poutine.

It was the hottest thing going this season, that crazy Canadian dish that tops french fries with cheese curd and gravy. It can get a dog-musher across the icy Quebec flats in winter, and I'm here to say that it's a fantastic

bar dish anywhere, any season. Pair it with a sassy cocktail and you're good for hours.

Four. Desserts worth a drive.

Any restaurant that puts real effort and creativity into its finishers has got my vote. Yes, there's a panna cotta, the dessert of the moment, and I'm willing to stay with a trend when there's ginger-fig compote on top. Points as well for a house-made Tarte Tatin, that French bit of perfection, served with a dreamy caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Five. Off the beaten.

Even though Broadway has been a destination for food-lovers on Aquidneck for years, it still always feels like I'm pulling something over on the tourists when I park my car there for a meal. As Newport swells with visiting swells, we'll all appreciate this off-wharf location all the more.

Would I go back? You bet. This is a fun place to eat, see, and be seen. Let's just say it's in my GPS.

Hit "Save": The Fifth Element, 111 Broadway, Newport, 619-2552. Open 7 days, 5pm-10pm, bar open until 1. Sun brunch 11:30am-3pm.

Like food? Follow Sean's reviews and get behind-the-scenes postings on Facebook, here.


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