Bottom line: I see why this place is so popular but I’m hoping for a better experience during my next visit!
I have been to 5Church several times. The first time I went I fell in love with their wasabi crusted salmon dish. I usually like to order different things when I go to a restaurant more than once, but the second time I went there for dinner I was on a mission, to fill up my stomach with wasabi crusted goodness. I have also been to 5Church after hours when it turns into an upscale bar on which you can sip on their expensive cocktails in their black and white decorated room.
The first time I went to 5Church I had the wasabi crusted salmon. As you may guess from the name this dish is a decently sized piece of salmon covered in a wasabi crust and served on a bed of sautéed bok choy, marinated seaweed, and a miso broth. I love sushi and this dish caught my eye because it reminded me of all the components that I like so much about sushi. The wasabi crust is absolutely delicious! It has the strong wasabi taste but it wasn’t too heavy and it was light green in color. The salmon was perfectly cooked. The seaweed and bok choy did not have much taste but the combinations of the salmon and wasabi crust more than made up for it. It seems to be a healthy dish. I like to find healthier options while eating out to keep in a mental filing cabinet for future visits.
During my second visit I had really high expectations. There was no question about it. I was going to order the same dish. When the waitress placed the dish on the table the first thing I noticed was that the color of the crust didn’t seem as bright of a green as the first time around. In fact it seemed a little dull. Despite that I took a bite of my salmon and found it to be a little dry. My salmon was slightly overcooked. The wasabi crust wasn’t as flavorful. I can only guess that the dish was cooked a little longer than the last time which dried out the fish and took away some of the kick in the wasabi. I was really disappointed. I had been looking forward to coming back for weeks at that point. One thing I do want to point out is that it was restaurant week in Charlotte and the restaurant was busier than normal. I opted not to order from the restaurant week menu as I didn’t feel that the combination of foods on the special menu was worth the price.
The second dish you see pictured is the roasted chicken dish. My friend had this dish. It is normally served with mashed potatoes but she opted for the fries. She commented that the chicken was a little dry. That seem to be the theme for the night.
During my second visit I also got a drink. This was something that I missed on my first visit. I got the rosemary gin fizz and my friend ordered the viper. The gin drink is made with gin (bet you weren’t expecting that,) egg whites, and a rosemary syrup. I liked the drink. It was Summer and it was hot. The drink was light and it was refreshing. The egg white was not overwhelming at all. It just made it slightly frothy. My excuse for ordering this drink was that I was also getting my protein along with my alcohol. Let it never be said that I don’t try to eat and drink healthy! The viper was made with silver tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, cucumbers, and cayenne pepper. I didn’t try it but my friend seemed to like it although she didn’t finish it all. If it had been me it would have been gone. I don’t believe in wasting good tequila!
Another thing worth mentioning is that one of the things that makes 5Church different is the atmosphere. Upon walking in you will notice their black and white decor. They have a big bar that takes up a good portion of the left wall. There are high top tables by the bar and regular tables throughout. They also have a swanky seating area with black sofas. The time that I was there just for drinks there seemed to be an older crowd (a little older than the typical young professional crowd). I am sure the drink prices keep some of the younger crowd at the other Uptown bars.
One other thing worth mentioning is that 5Church has complimentary valet parking after a certain time. Not many restaurants offer this for free. I was running late the second time I went and it made my life much easier to not have to deal with finding parking Uptown.
Overall, I do like the concept of 5Church. It is elegant and although their menu is not extensive their offerings are inventive. Although I wasn’t happy with my second visit I will be back. I think that there are plenty of other things to try on the menu and their cocktails selection must be fully explored. Will I order the wasabi crusted salmon again? Maybe. During my next visit I think I will stick with trying something else. Until then 5Church!