Saturday, October 25, 2014

Restaurant Review - Five Loaves Cafe in Downtown Charleston

Photo of Eggplant and Goat Cheese Appetizer with a Light Vinaigrette

Five Loaves Cafe, founded by Casey Glowacki and Joe Fischbein and sister to Sesame Burgers, has a couple of locations. One is in Mt Pleasant on Hwy 17, and the other is on Cannon Street in Downtown Charleston. Five Loaves' concentration is to provide local food from South Carolina agriculturalists and farmers to their tables. The restaurants are vegetarian friendly with scores of menu options available for vegetarians, vegans and those who abide by stricter diets. All breads, nuts, meats and vegetables are brought in from local growers and farms. They roast all their meats in-house and even create their own mozzerella cheese.

While making mozzarella cheese sounds like an arduous task, it really isn't. Not everyone does it as well as Five Loaves though. Taking just the right amount of milk, citric acic, rennet and heat with a dash of salt, and they have devised the perfect accessory to many of their sandwiches and dinner items. Moist and delicious, the cheese adds delicate flavor to just about anything.

On Friday evening, we decided to stop by the downtown location and grab a bite before heading to the Sotille Theater for a performance by the Charleston Symphony. Ordering an Avery Brown to sip on and a cold glass of iced tea, we perused the menu and decided to try the eggplant with goat cheese appetizer. My tablemate ordered samples of the restaurant's famous homemade soups. The tomato with crab meat is one of their most popular, followed by the baked potato soup and chicken chili. His sample this evening included the first two with a vegan artichoke to complete the trio. As we waited for their arrival, our server brought out steaming hot bread. The hot bread was a nice surprise and suitable for this time of year, with hints of pumpkin and spices dancing on our tongues.

The eggplant appetizer was delivered first, and needless to say the portions were gigantic! This alone could have been my dinner. Slices of eggplant enveloped soft and sweet goat cheese in a warm embrace. A lovely arugula salad adorned the top and added a slight peppery flavor to the sweet underbelly. Sweet tomatoes hugged the sides, and each bite contained a taste of Heaven. The goat cheese, delivered from local farms, offered a nice tart accent to the sweetness from the eggplant. Overall, the appetizer was perfect. If only that was the only item we had ordered.

The owners of Five Loaves take great pride in their recyclable efforts, and even their To Go boxes are earth friendly. Everything from the glass they use to paper products is recycled. The care they take to ensure their customers may also continue the efforts can be seen in the above photo. Each box is carefully packaged with the name and date of the item on the box. After use, the boxes may be placed into a compost along with whatever is left inside.

For dinner, we enjoyed lightly fried chicken and pork loin. Both were paired with garlic mashed potatoes and contained an arugula salad. The Chicken Palliard, pounded out and given just a pan-fried kiss, laid gently upon the potatoes. Beets were added to the salad and gave the dish a nice fragrance. The simplicity of the chicken allowed the garlic from the potatoes to infuse each bite, and a flavorful drizzle of sauce gave it an extra polish.

Photo of the Pork Loin Dinner Selection with Tarragon and Garlic Mashed Potatoes and side of Asparagus

As with the chicken, the pork medallians were cooked with a kiss and laid over garlic mashed potatoes. Atop each medallion were slices of freshly made mozzarella and a slice of tomato. Bits of tarragon (?) flakes added an aromatic background of anise with each bite. Finishing touches of arugula salad completed the well done and tender dish. We were stuffed by the end of the meal and added yet another To Go Box to our take home bag of delicious food.

If you are looking for a great meal for under $20, this is your Go To Restaurant in Charleston. They are well known for their popular lunches, homemade soups, and fat sandwiches or rollups. Freshness is never a problem at Five Loaves, and you can be satisfied knowing that they and you are supporting our local farmers.

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