5Church–Charlotte, NC {restaurant review}

5Church, which opened Friday May 18, 2012, stands at the corner of North Church and 5th Street in Uptown Charlotte (formerly occupied by Molly MacPherson’s).

5church building

Inside 5Church, you’ll find an open multi-level layout with decor that is striking and visually dramatic.  Beautiful dark tufted fabrics used throughout the space are accented with punches of white and grey, light wooden tables, and clear chairs.

5church charlotte

There are several different seating options for guests–tables, lounge areas, high tops, plus a large bar.  This will give patrons the option for an intimate dinner for two or a posh setting for late night cocktails all under one roof.  Speaking of cocktails, the hundreds of softly lit bottles of wine and liquor filling the expansive windows lining 5th Street are an art piece in their own right.

The owners have described 5Church as “casual yet refined” and “Uptown meets Plaza Midwood meets Myers Park.”  Words that come to my mind?  Swanky, upscale, trendy, and (ok, I’ll say it) a tad pretentious.  Now, pair that with artistic conversation starters like twinkling feathered lights, a sprawling floor-to-ceiling metal tree sculpture, and the ceiling itself which showcases the words of Art of War handwritten in ordered chaos against a dark backdrop.

5church charlotte ceiling

The menu at 5Church is eclectic.  The “snacks” portion of the menu includes baked local goat cheese, quinoa tabouleh, and St. Louis style toasted mushroom ravioli with tomato coulis.  We started our meal with the black bean hummus.  The hummus was garlicky and loved by everyone at the table.  The menu lists grilled flat bread as the accoutrement, but arrived instead with extra crispy (perhaps fried?) strips of flatbread.  The flatbread serving was sparse compared to the portion of hummus served, but given the great flavor of the hummus and the mere $3 price tag I really cannot complain about this snack.

black bean hummus

Then it was on to the Szechuan pork belly with spicy cabbage.  The meat-eaters at the table remarked that the pork belly was incredibly tender but not the least bit fatty.

After the snacks, we shifted our attention to the three-part first course.  First, the chilled asparagus salad with soft-boiled quail eggs, arugula, house cured lox, and radish:

chilled asparagus

Unfortunately, no one in our group found this asparagus dish interesting.  We opted instead to devour the Morel Gnocchi complete with pea shoots and bacon:

morel gnocchi

Interestingly, the gnocchi at 5Church are not made with potatoes as is traditionally the case.  This potato-less gnocchi was surprisingly tender and the pieces melted away in our mouths.  It was creamy, cheesy, and extremely comforting.

Along with the gnocchi, we tried the grilled shrimp flat bread with arugula, red onion, and boursin cheese.  This was the most well-liked dish of the evening.  Boursin Cheese?  Come on.  Does it get any better?

shrimp pizza

Our main course consisted first of the lamb burger with grilled red onion marmalade and  gorgonzola on a house made sesame bun:

lamb burger

The burgers were moist and devoured quickly, but the crispy confit fries that came along side were cold and in major need of salt.  The fries were paired with a delicious creamy dressing — a cross between mustard and mayonnaise with a heavy hand of cumin, perhaps?  Even though the fries were cold, we downed most of them simply as a vehicle for the delicious tangy dressing.

Last, I ordered the crispy marinated tofu with edamame succotash, pea greens, and yuzo soy emulsion:

seared tofu

The tofu was, well, interesting.  Definitely not bad, but, well.. it’s tofu.  I am no tofu connoisseur, and while it was fun to branch out, I think I’d pass on the tofu next time.

A big thank you to Jeff Gordon Wines for filling our never-ending glasses this evening.  I especially enjoyed the red blend.  (Surprise, surprise.)

5church wine

We ended our meal with a little sweet treat — a bite of citrus cake, cream, and strawberry:


5Church is now officially open and taking reservations.  Don’t miss out on their house made pastas (including homemade ramen noodles!) and house made breads.  5Church is also open for lunch with several additional sandwiches, flatbreads, pastas, and salads on the menu.  I think it goes without repeating, but I wholeheartedly recommend the morel gnocchi and shrimp flatbread.


5church on Urbanspoon

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