Monday, August 8, 2011

And we're off: Fork eases us gently into Philly

After the big move down to Philly, my mom stuck around for a couple of days to help me get set up. Thanks Mom! And so of course we made time for some meals, including Saturday night dinner at Fork.

It's a welcoming dining room with a vibrant open kitchen, and especially when it's 100+ degrees out and it's air conditioned inside, Fork feels like heaven. The vibe is casual and slightly eclectic, just on this side of "fine dining."

To start, we were offered a choice of three breads. Mom took the fruit and nut with a devilish look on her face, and she gobbled it down. Mine was a multigrain roll, and it was hearty and studded with all kinds of yummy seeds that I gracelessly picked off the top.

Fruits and nuts inside

Yeah, this is a terrible picture, but you get the idea

To start, we split the baby lettuces salad. This was very simple, with two fried balls of lemon ricotta- surprisingly lemony, and a nice touch. Sadly, the leaves themselves were a touch oversalted, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Lettuces, y'know.

For her entree, Mom went for the halibut, with parsley-garlic puree, wax beans, and parisienne potatoes (essentially little potato balls sauteed in butter). She enjoyed it, noting that the fish was well cooked and not dry at all. I do also applaud the kitchen for putting a textbook golden-brown sear on that puppy. Check it out:

Pretty fish

My entree was the pickled beets and garden vegetable salad. This was decent, but it didn't blow my mind; the vegetables (beans, radishes, beets) and tangle of micro-greens were fresh, but there wasn't anything particularly special about the dish. Every now and then, I'd get a bite of pickled beet, and the burst of vinegar was the tastiest thing about the dish.

There are veggies under there

On to dessert. We debated going elsewhere for ice cream, but instead we decided to stick it out at Fork-- which may have been the wrong choice, given that pastry doesn't seem to be the restaurant's forte. Mom went for the malted chocolate cream cake, which packed layers of flourless chocolate cake, caramel mousse, and malted vanilla cream, all enrobed in chocolate ganache and paired with blackberry gelato. This got the job done-- it was chocolatey, after all-- but the plating seemed to be a bit of an afterthought.

I guess?

I went for an order of salted caramel gelato, which came with a cocoa nib shortbread cookie. The gelato was mild and sweet, which was good, but it was the shortbread that was the surprise winner: crumbly, sugary, and buttery, all interspersed with little bursts of bitter chocolateyness from the nibs. I could have gone for just a plate of those cookies, frankly.

Welp, it's gelato. Plus cookie.

So all in all, Fork was decent. We agreed it didn't blow us away, but I'd certainly return if the opportunity presented. So therefore I award fork my inaugural Philly three OS rating, with an eye toward many more ratings to come.

306 Market Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets

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