Diners describe it as “romantic,” “gourmet,” “posh” and “the hippest restaurant in the ?Boro.”
Its fare includes the American standards: steak, chicken, pork chops, fish, ribs and seafood, but after closer inspection of the menu, and the food, the more you realize Five Senses is something very special.
Brother and sister duo Mitchell and Mollie Murphree do focus on regional Southern food, but they incorporate some new and exotic flavors in their one-of-a-kind dishes.
The pork chop entree, served with apple infused mashed potatoes and cabbage, delivers an intriguing, sweet taste. A sage-cider cream sauce tops the meat and you will wonder why mashed potatoes are not always flavored with apples.
That is, unless they’re seasoned with horseradish, as are the mashed potatoes served alongside the filet mignon.
Other entrees include stuffed chicken breast with smoked cheddar cheese, apples and spinach, stone ground grits and warm bacon vinaigrette; seared scallops with grilled grits, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, sundried tomato tapenade and pesto cream sauce; and grilled yellowfin tuna with jasmine rice, citrus-avocado sauce, black sesame seeds and citrus-soy sauce.
However, if you want one of these dishes, hurry, Five Senses changes its menu four times a year.
“We try to serve what is fresh and what is available,” Mitchell said.
For example, lamb is best in the spring, he said. The seafood also varies according to season and most of the vegetables come fresh from local farms.
“You’ll never see asparagus in this restaurant unless it’s between March and May. That’s when it’s at its best,” the co-owner said.
Mitchell, a Culinary Institute of America graduate and former chef at Murfreesboro’s B. McNeel’s, said he recommends Five Senses diners order the seafood.
“We get fresh seafood every day,” he said. “It’s as fresh of seafood as you’ll get anywhere in the state of Tennessee.”
He said the restaurant is called Five Senses because “cooking is the only art that requires all five senses.”
One local resident said the restaurant appealed to all five senses as well.
“It was the best meal I had in a very long time,” Staci Higdon, who dined at Five Senses on her birthday last month, said. “The presentation was beautiful, the atmosphere was very nice.”
The servers also seemed knowledgeable about the food and wine, Higdon, who ordered the tuna, but sampled from her three companions’ plates, said.
“They didn’t let our glasses get close to empty,” she said.
Dennis Deck, one of the servers at Five Senses, was happy to assist a customer having trouble deciding on a dish.
“The scallops are one of my favorite,” Deck said.
He also highly recommended the sauteed flounder with cornbread dressing, haricot vert and crabmeat buerre blanc.
“The cornbread dressing is a little dry, but it’s really flavorful,” Deck said.
Country ham provides the cornbread in this dish with its hearty and memorable flavor. Murphree said he uses country ham to flavor several dishes, an unusual, but delicious way to use a typical Southern main dish.
Deck went on to say his two favorite land entrees were the lamb shank and beef short ribs.
Both of these items are braised – a French technique where the meat is cooked in liquid for several hours, Murphree said.
The restaurant obviously appeals to taste and smell through the food and sight through the presentation and atmosphere. One way it caters to the sense of hearing is by hosting live jazz sessions on the weekends.
Starting at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays a rotating crew of local jazz players entertain the Five Senses crowd. The music is powerful enough to stimulate, but not so loud it ruins good dinner conversation.
Amidst the rave reviews and kind words about Five Senses, generally the only complaint is that it’s not affordable for the general consumer to eat there on a regular basis.
“Maybe I’ll get to go back for my next birthday,” Higdon said.
If you have $50 (or more if you have a taste for wine) to spend on a date, go, it’s worth it. If not, you’ll just have to settle for less.