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10/29/10 Five Corners Kitchen: Great Addition to Marblehead and the North Shore

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Went tonight, fri., at 5:30 opening.Restaurant was completely full by 7. Busy, loud, close tables, clean comfortable white room with big bright windows. The kitchen is open and small. The dishes-clanging noise heard in the dining room was louder than any I've ever experienced; i felt like the dishwashing station was just over my shoulder.

We overheard a regular saying that the dishes not to be missed are the pork chop with romesco jus, the steak frites, and the skate (I adore silky skate but I am not a fan of brown butter caper treatment, so I am hopeful that other skate versions will be on future menus.)

Our food was excellent. Best White bean soup i have ever had- by a marathon mile. Rich, intriguing, multilayered flavors included bacon, root vegetables, escarole....... Would make a perfect set up for a salmon entree. Super Beet and watercress salad ( I requested a change-up of chevre and sherry vinaigrette instead of ricotta salada and horseradish vngrtte.) My Love enjoyed his special- Tagliatelle w/ duck confit, and wild mushrooms, though we both agreed the pasta was too al dente ( I really wish this were not the norm these days) and he felt the duck was too scant. My salmon with beet, fennel and hazelnut compote- was really satisfying, w/ terrific flavors, though the kitchen had to re-do my requested 'rare' salmon and the replacement was only slightly less cooked.

The chefs are obviously swamped and mistakes do happen when you're in the weeds from when the gate opens. I'm sure the kitchen will settle in. While I waited for my salmon re-do, I did enjoy their popular perfectly crisp and greaseless frites with an excellent robust basil aioli. (As would be expected of a bright chef alum of Aquitaine.) I have enjoyed the A and J breads from Salem so I don't think their product was the lackluster table bread we had here.

One neat surprise at 5 Corners was that they have a very good number of nice reds by the glass. It was also a delight to have the option of a very unusual and delicious dessert- a clafoutis type tart of armagnac macerated prunes , w/ a cognac creme anglaise.The service was v. professional, helpful and attentive and we really enjoyed the food. Knowing that they have been slammed since they opened in May, you have to wonder why no one filled this niche before in Marblehead .At any rate, it's a great new addition to a former culinary non-destination. Marblehead is truly one of the most beautiful towns on the East Coast and a favorite place of ours, so we are very excited about 5 Corners Kitchen and look forward to returning.

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