I had heard mixed reviews for Church but wanted to try it out for myself before writing it off. Being a sister restaurant of Coolidge Corner’s Regal Beagle in Brookline I was expecting a strong culinary showing, but instead experienced a slightly disappointing meal and spotty service.
Bread: None. At least we didn’t receive any. I should have realized then that what was to come was nothing impressive.
Menu: Sliders, From the Garden, Grilled Flatbread, From the Sea, From the Farm, Dessert. There were a good amount of options, and part of certain dishes stood out but there wasn’t one that I was immediately drawn to (besides the rosemary duck fat fries, which I didn’t even order). I also need to mention the cocktail menu; it was broken down into two categories, “Seven Deadly Sins” and “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. I commend Church for being creative with their descriptions, but when they omit any mention of the alcohol involved it’s hard to determine what to order!
Margherita Grilled Flatbread: slow roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil
The four of us started with this flatbread as an appetizer. It wasn’t bad but there wasn’t anything particularly memorable about it either. I love any kind of tomato (except maybe sundried) but I didn’t like the way these were prepared.
Warm Baby Spinach Salad: cranberry-thyme vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, molten gorgonzola, and beets
My salad came in a warm skillet, with the ‘molten cheese’ crisped to the bottom of the cast iron pan. It was a little strange that the lettuce was so warm, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The salad was lightly dressed, and a good combination of sweet & savory.
Buffalo Chicken Sliders: buttermilk-blue cheese dressing and celery slaw
Two sliders came topped with slaw; sandwiched between was a pile of fries. Before ordering I assumed the chicken would have been pulled or grilled, so I was pretty disappointed to learn that in between the buns was cubed, slightly fried chicken. The slaw was decent and I liked the sauce, but the square pieces of poultry really threw me off.
Bathroom: The ladies room was actually nice with earth tones, chrome faucets, and bowl sinks which I always find quite pretty.
Service: My friend Alana arrived about 15 minutes before the rest of us and said she waited at least 10 minutes before anyone came over to offer her a drink. Once we arrived and ordered cocktails it took another 15 minutes to receive those. Our waitress was either new, distracted, or just straight up not good at her job. Our salads came before we finished the flatbread, which isn’t a huge deal but I don’t like to be rushed! The rest of the evening was fine, although it did take a while to get the check.
Overall: I think Church is more of a bar / live band scene than a restaurant; I personally would never send anyone there for the food. The cocktails were just ok; I started with Vanity (a vodka & grapefruit concoction) and ended with Death (useless description is above – turned out to be a champagne cocktail). The prices were reasonable at least and the atmosphere was lively and comfortable. The location is so remote (Kilmarnock Street) that I don’t see myself returning any time soon.
The Perfect Bite: I guess I’ll say the warm spinach, melted gorgonzola, and beets.