I am way overdue for a review of this restaurant but I really wanted to like it so I made sure to go there twice before posting my experience. My first visit was the Saturday night before Easter. Our party of three was pretty excited so we all had a pretty good idea what we wanted to order by checking the online menu. We shared the roasted artichoke with garlic aioli as an appetizer which we all enjoyed. I can't be certain but my guess is that the aioli itself wasn't house-made, and instead roasted garlic and a bit of lemon in regular mayo (it was still great though). I don't think I have ever had a bad roasted artichoke so I may not be the best judge here. I ordered the Greenbelt salad: mixed greens with dried sweet corn and shaved red onion, it comes with cheese but I opted out. I chose to add a marinated and roasted (I think, if not it was lightly grilled) portobello. I loved this salad; dried sweet corn is something I have never had on a salad and I thought the flavors mixed well. The salad was not overly dressed at all but I did request it be dressed "carefully." I wish the portobello would have been more substantial, perhaps if I order this again I will ask for two. I am pretty much a wine buffoon so I asked my server for a light and easy recommendation I would enjoy that would pair well with my meal. Our served did not disappoint and also chose a glass of red for the short ribs. My companions ordered the short ribs and the salmon sandwich. the short ribs served with masked potatos received raves while the sandwich and house made potato chips were good but not life shattering. We ended the evening with a warm butter cake served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The taste memory of this cake shot me straight back to childhood. My mom made the Bonnie Butter Cake for our birthday every year, and as far as my tastebuds could remember, this dessert was the closest thing I have ever had (slight edge still goes to my mom, however).
On my second visit I started with the Eighth Street salad: whole butter leaves topped with radishes, fresh herbs and a lemony dressing. This was good but not great - no complaints but not something I absolutely have to return for. I chose with the mushroom panfry as my entree although it is listed in the appetizer section. This dish almost knocked my socks off. It consisted of a medley of sauteed mushrooms in a reduction of their own juices served over polenta. It must have been placed inder the broiler or salamander at the last minute because the asiago on top was nice just barely crunchy. I know, without a doubt, I will return for this dish. To me it was perfectly seasoned, and since I am a bit of a salt fiend, some may find it a bit on the salty side (not me though)! I sampled a few rosemary parmesan fries that accompanied my DC's the pulled chicken sandwich which I loved. They must have been double-fried because they maintained their crispyness until the end of the meal when I stole a few. The other dish at our table was the apple-brined chicken and mashed potatoes. Other DC loved this dish commenting how moist the chicken was without being the least bit soggy, rubbery or salty. The house Merlot may not have been the right choice for this dish, or may not have been that great of a wine I am not sure (an nobody in our party has a thorough knowledge of wine), either way this glass was not a big hit. No dessert this time as I had a bit of a migraine, but their selections of Tazo tea hit the spot.
I really wanted to like Fork mostly for it's "Farm to Fork" philosophy. While there are a good handful of local restaurants doing well, it still seems like there are too many chains in Boise. I am happy to report my tummy agrees with my heart and brain on this one.
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