Destination: Full 

5th Quadrant a Sweet Ride to Gut-Bust-Ville

The 5th Quadrant is owned by Jerry Fechter, who is also responsible for the New Old Lompoc (on NW 23rd), and the Hedge House (on SE Division)—both of which happen to be home to my favorite bar food in town. Some drinkeries might have cooler ambience (though few are more approachable), and others might have fancier cocktails, but if I'm looking to score some food with my booze, those two microbrew hotspots are where it's at. Lompoc Brewery standards, like the Fool's Golden Ale and the Condor Pale Ale, are great beers, and pair wonderfully with the cuisine, which has delicious accoutrements like thin, crispy French fries, crunchy coleslaw, and decadent soup specials combining with standard but perfectly prepared entrees like fish and chips and a shredded pork sandwich. It's the best pub grub in town.

The new New Old Lompoc joint, the 5th Quadrant, is a spacious, comfy block of a room next door to the almost-as-new Pix Patisserie branch on North Williams. With high ceilings and romantic lighting, the 5th has a slightly different feel than its predecessors. It's more upscale, with a few specialty pasta dishes and schmancy dinner entrees like a grilled rib-eye steak, and eggplant Parmesan. There are even suggested beer pairings with the dishes, a microbrewery's riff on the wine bar. At the same time, the restaurant's layout includes big, family-style booths and benches, and a friendly waitstaff. All in all, it's a well-executed stylistic evolution for Fechter and company: a higher-quality dining experience that doesn't sacrifice the Lompoc's tradition of relaxation and comfort.

And the food, as ever, is excellent. Many of the old standards are in place, like the sauerkraut-smothered Reuben, and the marvelous halibut fish and chips, while new additions like the 5th Quadrant salad, and a massive five-ounce rib-eye sandwich, flesh the menu out into something truly special. The salad was the best I've had in months: a healthy, hefty blend of roasted beets, hazelnuts, Gorgonzola, mixed greens, and an orange vinaigrette.

From there, I tried the steak sandwich, while my friend worked on the more refined house-made meatloaf platter, which included mashed red potatoes, sautéed green beans (always a plus), and succulent pan gravy. The meatloaf was tender and juicy, the potatoes creamy, and the beans crispy and flavorful—just like mom used to make. Meanwhile, my sandwich was delicious, dripping with grilled onions and peppers, mozzarella, and garlic mayo. I ordered fries as my side, and the resulting gut-bomb of meat, hoagie roll, deep-fried potatoes, and beer nearly killed me. Get the coleslaw with this sandwich, or better yet, split it with your dining companion and pair it with the 5th Quadrant salad.

You'll need to monitor your 5th Quadrant portions to protect yourself from death, but also to save room for dessert—a choice of lemon flan, marionberry cobbler, or a (shwing!) bittersweet chocolate tartlet. Yes, there are suggested beer pairings with even these decadent morsels, ensuring once and for all that you will never feel fuller than at the end of a complete dinner journey at the 5th Quadrant. But oh, what a sweet, succulent ride it is...

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