Under and around the Perkins Road overpass are several noteworthy restaurants that have helped make it a go-to hangout for Baton Rouge foodies. The newest to the neighborhood is BLDG 5, a ramshackle building of cozy indoor and lush outdoor spaces.
Like the other establishments in the area, there is a singular, glaring issue: parking. The first time we attempted to visit, we were hard pressed to find a parking spot. But once inside, the charming decor and plant-festooned courtyard offered a welcome respite.
The menu includes salads, small and large plates and dinner boards, but it’s slightly confusing with similarities between some of the plates and boards. Our server helped steer us to an ample selection of three small plates and one dinner board for 1 (also available in 2- and 4-person sizes).
Chicken Karaage was described as the most unique dish on the menu. Star anise was the predominant spice in the crispy, fried coating on the juicy chicken thighs. Its flavor lingered pleasantly. The kewpie sesame aioli that accompanied it was a rather bland dipping sauce—but not so with the sweet honey Sriracha. Although I personally enjoyed the chicken’s flavor best on its own.
Braised Short Ribs came with a heaping helping of ridiculously rich polenta. No doubt it was loaded with tons of cream and butter. The well-cooked and toothsome beef was an ideal foil to the soft polenta. This serving would make an admirable entree for any sized appetite.
Three thick petite cakes comprised the BLDG 5 Crab Cakes. They were pan sautéed then deep fried with meaty crab punctuated by visible red peppers. The tart and tangy remoulade was a bit thick for my tastes, but its zest complemented the delicate seafood. A spring mix salad completed the serving.
Of the popular board selections, I was most interested in the Harvest Board. When the immense platter came to the table, I was so glad we requested the single serving. It provided a true cornucopia of sweet potatoes, broccoli, eggplant, green beans, pattypan squash, zucchini, bell peppers and gargantuan asparagus. The board came with more polenta, but it was topped with unpleasantly vinegary mushrooms. Simple roasted beets in a light vinaigrette were also included. My partner declared the accompanying tzatziki sauce better than other versions found at local Greek and Lebanese restaurants.
BLDG 5 has a unique and inviting vibe, so it’s no wonder this place is often packed. Up front is set up like a sundry store with various objects to capture your attention and pocket book. Refrigerators with packaged sandwiches and salads along with freezers packed with ready-to-heat soups make tomorrow’s lunch and dinner prep a snap.
A word of advice: Reservations are only allowed for parties of six or more, so expect a wait if you bring a smaller group.
Still, this healthful, fetching establishment is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and greater Baton Rouge. Now, if only I can find a parking spot.
THE BASICS: Misti and Brumby Broussard opened BLDG 5 in November 2019 under the Perkins Road overpass in former warehouse spaces. It’s quickly become a Baton Rouge hangout known for its casual atmosphere and indoor/outdoor vibe.
WHAT’S A MUST: Any of the hefty dinner boards piled with meats, cheeses and all kinds of roasted and marinated veggies. Of the small plates, the Chicken Karaage offers Japanese-style fried chicken with two dipping sauces, and the tender Braised Short Ribs are brightened up with pickled red onions.