There's a rich tradition of classic institutions dialing back their stuffiness to stay relevant: Rolls Royce stopped designing ceilings to accomodate top hats, and Orson Welles voiced "Unicron" in 1986's animated Transformers movie. Borrowing from that playbook: The just-reopened 5th Floor.
Relaunched after a culinary and aesthetic overhaul, the Hotel Palomar resto is stepping back into the opulent date-spot fray, minus the swarms of obsequious servers and table linens so white they seared the naked eye.
Decor's similarly tweaked, with modern, vaguely asian appointments, a marble communal table, and loungey leather chairs/banquettes as overstuffed as your wallet will soon not be.
But the modernized Gascon fare, cheffed up by Aqua and Ame vets, is nonetheless top-notch: chestnut soup, cured sea scallops w/ caviar, and "poule au pot" -- poached free-range chicken stuffed with foie gras and a starry-eyed dream to convert Cambodia into an agrarian utopia.
Further eroding the monolith of pretention, 5th Floor's front room's been reorganized as a no-reservations café, perfect for a casual bite -- a shift on par with a T-top Rolls, or Orson Welles voicing "Unicron" in 1986's animated Transformers movie.