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Fifth Dimension

The Chelsea hotel’s Dining on the Fifth has a new look, but it, and the more informal Teplitzky’s on the first floor, are still tops among dining destinations.

By Frank Gabriel
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 12, 2014

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Since opening in July 2008 as Atlantic City’s first “boutique” non-casino property, The Chelsea hotel has also cultivated a serious culinary reputation for itself.

From that time through to the current regime of food-and-beverage director Megan McNulty and chef Jaime Quintana, the facility earned a solid niche amongst food folk in the highly competitive restaurant market that is Atlantic City.

We visited recently, to sample their repositioned Dining on the Fifth space — once steak house Chelsea Prime — and the ground-level, all-day gem Teplitzky’s.

Our evening on the Fifth began with an appetizer trio of mini crab cakes. Three perfectly formed, round nuggets of mostly lump crab nicely pan-browned and arranged on a wide plate dotted with orange aioli.

Cuban pork tacos, like the cakes, brought a portion of three. Soft mini tortillas overflowed with warm, mildly seasoned pork. A diced mango salsa accompanied, adding color and creating a nice compliment to the savory meat.

Both plates ably performed the most essential purpose of apps, igniting appetites in anticipation of what follows. Like our favorite item of this night, surprisingly, a chopped salad.

Despite depths of winter outside, this bowl was loaded with summery goodness; crisp romaine, corn, sliced red pepper and onion, tiny cuts of haricot verts and scads of creamy, luscious avocado. All would have been fine solo, with the avocado’s natural moisture as dressing, but the provided Green Goddess tossed throughout was an enchanting, herbaceous stroke of genius.

My entrée, pistachio crusted tuna with sautéed white beans, roasted peppers and lemon oil drizzle, arrived in seven thick slices, beautifully fanned across half of the plate. The remaining portion was ladled with a soft, aromatic blend of sautéed bean mixture drizzled with lemon oil. We greatly enjoyed the presentation and quality of fish, but felt a bit too much garlic undermined the pistachio’s delicate contribution.

My dining partner opted for another seafood, seared scallops over Arborio rice and asparagus. Four discs of creamy mollusks were presented atop risotto, dotted with the aristocratic green vegetable, a sure portent of spring’s imminent arrival.

Desserts brought a cookie trio; chocolate chip, oatmeal and sugar served warm in a cool, self-contained ramekin, a scoop of ice cream riding alongside.

My chocolate Kahlua cake, rich and dense, delivered potent, not-so-sweet notes defining the real nature of cacao, given an extra oomph via the lively coffee essence of that Mexican liqueur.

Throughout our meal, we couldn’t help but notice a distinct change in the overall personality evident at the establishment as well. What once was a retro supper club now pulses a younger, hipper vibe, with a clientele largely composed of sharp 20- to 40-somethings.

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