I wrote about numeral-named restaurants, including Berkeley's new Five restaurant (named in honor of the five senses), last week. Now the San Francisco Chronicle's food critic, Michael Bauer, confirms that it's not merely a phenomenon but a trend:
The latest is the lamest: 5A5 Steak Lounge. As with the other number and letter places, once you know what it means, it's easier to remember.
A16 and RN74 are named after highways in Italy and France, the areas that inform the food on the menus. In this case, A5 refers to the top grade of Japanese Kobe. A steakhouse named after prime beef makes some sense; after all, A1 Steak Sauce has had a long run on the retail shelves.
However, it seems A5 could be confused with A16, so the owners of that restaurant raised objections. To circumvent a legal tangle, the owners of A5 changed the name. The explanation from the Web site: "Indulge your five senses with the A5 experience." Still, 5A5 doesn't roll off the tongue.
Worse still, Bauer writes, "the confusion with the name is consistent with the rest of the experience."
In other prime-number news, Häagen-Dazs recently introduced a new brand called five™ (yes, all lower case), whose claim to fame is that it's "crafted with only five ingredients."