By Hope S. Philbrick
Good alligator is hard to find. Usually. But while the crispy gator bites are on the menu at 5Church Atlanta, look no further.
“Alligator is hard to cook,” I was told by a James Beard Award-winning chef while we sat in a booth at his restaurant in downtown New Orleans, La., a few years ago. “It has a tendency to turn to rubber quick.”
That may be one reason why alligator isn’t common on menus in Atlanta, Georgia.
But when it’s cooked right, it’s oh-so-tender and tastes somewhat like calamari and (of course) chicken.
The cooks in the kitchen at 5Church know how to treat alligator meat just right. The crispy gator bites are soft with crunchy batter coating, a satisfying play on textures. They’re served with a medley of peppers and a zingy Creole remoulade dipping sauce.
An order of those fried bites and a cold beer could make a meal, but it would be a shame to miss out on other menu items.
Don’t miss the Holy Water, the restaurant’s best-selling cocktail for good reason. The mix of Four Roses Bourbon, sweet tea, lemon juice, blackberries, mint, and blue agave is so yummy you’ll want to suck every drop off the ice cubes.
Maple Farms Duck Breast is cooked to order (e.g., medium). It’s drizzled with port wine reduction and fanned around sweet mascarpone pumpkin risotto. The presentation and flavor combination truly impress.
Slow-roasted prime rib is paired with potato wedges with horseradish cream and au jus alongside. It’s a well-prepared, satisfying classic.
Pace yourself. It’s easy to fill up fast, since guests are treated to not mere crackers or bread but seed-coated crunchy deliciousness nestled in addictive white bean hummus.
The restaurant has a pastry chef on staff, a tempting option if you manage to save room for dessert. You might, however, prefer to add another savory dish to your lineup such as the Brussels Sprout arugula salad with cranberries, gorgonzola, avocado cream, toasted almonds, and lemon vinaigrette.
Whatever you crave—or are willing to try—you’re in good hands here.
Relax and enjoy. The food is upscale; the atmosphere casual and boisterous.
1197 Peachtree St. NE
Atlanta GA 30361
Odds of Encountering Children: Low.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to 5Church Atlanta for hosting our recent visit.