Sunday night we finally got a chance to check out the recently opened 5 Corners Kitchen in Marblehead. They have been open for a couple of weeks now and look to be doing a booming business. Reservations are definitely recommended as tables fill up fast.
The room has a casual elegance, the decorative tin ceiling and fun light fixtures lending texture to the clean lines and no-nonsense table settings. Our table wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we visited the bar. Although a relatively small space, the bar area is friendly and warm and features a fun seating niche in the window. The bartender was terrific, smiling and helpful and pouring us samples when we inquired about various wines. He entreated us to stay and eat with him, but our table was ready to go.
The wine list covers a good range, from $6.50 to $13.50 a glass, and the bottles were reasonable as well. We started with several of the appetizers; the cauliflower, leek and potato vichyssoise with lobster and fine herbs vinaigrette ($9), the rustic country pork terrine with whole grain mustard and pickled vegetables ($7), and the roasted beet and watercress salad with shaved fennel, red onion, ricotta salata, and horseradish crème fraiche vinaigrette ($8). Both the soup and the salad were quite good, with a lovely complexity of flavor. The terrine came with a plate of grilled bread and was excellent, quite a bargain given the amount of food for the price. That and a salad could be a meal.
The star of the starters, though, was the simplest—we had heard good things about Chef Edelman’s fries and were not disappointed. These are some seriously delicious fries; fresh house-made beauties served with a lush basil garlic aioli ($5). If we hadn’t ordered so much other food, we might have come to blows over the final few.
For entrees, we were interested in the sautéed skate wing, but they had sold out by the time we ordered. Instead we went for the roasted half chicken with oyster mushrooms, wilted spring greens, and brown butter jus ($18), the potato gnocchi with grilled asparagus, fava beans, fiddleheads, braised lettuce, mushrooms, and house-made crème fraiche ($17), and a special that night, a house-made saucisson on creamy lentils ($16).
Roasted chicken when done well can be a revelation, and this one was: crispy, juicy, and savory. The sausages were also excellent, not too dense and full of flavor. The gnocchi was tender and the vegetables perfect, sautéed but still crunchy, but some might find the portion a bit small.
Currently, 5CK is only offering one dessert per evening, which was an orange panna cotta with raspberry rhubarb compote ($6) the night we were there. Light and refreshing, the delicate texture and flavor were a perfect end to our meal.
The only drawback of the night was the noise level. It’s a small space with a high ceiling, and sound really bounces around. Clever use of fabrics or acoustical panels would help immensely. The din seemed to drop around 8:30 when the crowd thinned, so a later seating time is in order for those in search of a quieter meal. The restaurant will soon be offering lunch, and that might prove a less noisy alternative as well.
When we interviewed Chef Edelman in March, he spoke about his passion for creating simple meals with local foods and having attentive staff. We found he has come through on both counts. Our waitress was phenomenal, and the food was excellent. Chicken, sausage, pasta—all simple, ordinary foods made extraordinary by the obvious freshness and thoughtful preparation.
5 Corners Kitchen
2 School Street, Marblehead