Marblehead has a wealth of culture, recreational family fun and seaside charm but let's be honest, the lack of high quality dining options in my opinion, is limited at best.
Enter Chef Barry Edelman's new 5 Corners restaurant on School Street. After gaining regional recognition as the executive sous chef at Bistro du Midi in Boston's chic Back Bay, Edelman decided to heed the call of Marbleheaders seeking local, fresh seafood without the crunch of deep frying.
Since opening their doors on May 12, 5 Corners has satiated local demand for healthier, lighter seafood fare, while also providing those from outside of Marblehead yet another reason to visit town. As I've heard it said countless times before, "people in Marblehead don't go out to eat in Marblehead." I think that 5 Corners might just change this notion.
I'm a man of simplicity. I believe that less is more and that you should never leave a restaurant stuffed or feel the urge to unfasten your pant buttons. To these quips, 5 Corners was right in my comfort zone.
Upon entering the cool, cream-colored, almost 1960s-revisionist interior, all the right little nuances that you see in a major metropolitan area bistro are in place; candles on the tables, tap and sparkling water served from a bottle, food-savvy waitstaff and a short but sweet menu. The carefully selected menu is limited to around five main courses, all of which are fresh, and presented on a clip board. As Edelman logically put it, "because the menu changes as often as our fresh supplies do."
My kind of menu. As my father has always said – be wary of restaurants that serve it all; a poignant comment coming from a man who grew up in the midst of classic Greek 'anything and everything' New York City diners.
I decided to start with the muscles, sourced locally, delicately cooked in a garlic lemon butter broth and accented with snippets of fresh vegetables. Now, I love muscles, but as any fan of the delicious mollusk knows, they have to be served very, very fresh. These were fantastic muscles. Not a hint of fishiness, not overcooked, just a little bit salty- just the way they are supposed to be. As my waitress rightfully suggested, the extra bread was definitely worthwhile to soak up the delightful broth. These fantastic little guys just whetted my appetite for the main course.
I love skate and whenever a restaurant offers it on the menu, I order it. In my mind, a chef would not risk putting something of that somewhat limited appeal on the menu if it wasn't very fresh and quite good.
It must have been both of these things because upon ordering around 8:00pm on a Sunday night, I was disappointed to learn that they were out of stock. This set back didn't bother me much as I respect a restaurant that runs out of fresh ingredients.
My disappointment was short lived as I ordered one of my other favorite ocean delicacies, soft shell crab. The entrée size was an upgrade from one of the appetizers available that night. I was presented with two small, delicate soft shell crabs straight out of South Carolina. I've spent a good number of summer holidays in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, feasting on soft shells in the early summer months and these crabs held their own with the best of them. I also appreciated that 5 Corners served the smaller, more flavorful crabs, as opposed to the larger, chewier variety normally found on menus.
I finished my meal with a bold cup of coffee and a light dessert- both of which were quite good.
Throughout the course of my meal, the service was attentive and knowledgeable; able to answer my questions and provide honest suggestions on the fare. Many entrees start below the price point of $20.
5 Corners is the type of restaurant that Marblehead needs – sophisticated, health-conscience, classic, fresh and genuine. I have no problem with the New England staples of fish and chips, clam chowder, fried clams and fried scallops, but it is a breath of fresh ocean air to finally have a place to dine for those seeking a bit of seafood variety, not to mention a penchant for watching their waistline.
I highly recommend you gather a group of seafood-loving friends or family and either drive into town or walk on over if you're local, and experience what Chef Barry Edelman has crafted.