Cork Wine Bar

25 Feb

Last night I made my first trip to Cork Wine Bar in Logan Circle to have dinner with my mother and my aunt who was in town for some business of the horticultural variety. We were seated in the restaurant’s back room which reminded me a bit of snug city restaurants in Europe, small tables rather close together with lighting dim enough that we found ourselves reading our menus by the candlelight provided by the table’s lone votive.  I enjoyed the intimate, neighborhood feel but if you aren’t so interested in your neighbor’s conversation the more open and boisterous front room may be more your speed.

We starting our evening with a couple flights of wine, one Spanish whites and one sparkly and pink. Reasonably priced at $12-$15, I found them to be a great way to explore their extensive  wine list.  Cork’s menu of small plates is divided into two sections: cold and hot. We began with three dishes from the ‘cold’ side. The first was a selection of three cheeses, served with slices of soft raisin-studded bread, little pools of honey and a red wine reduction. My favorite of the three was a creamy goat that is one of the best soft cheeses I have had in a country requiring pasteurization and one that I will be seeking out very shortly at the new Cork Market.  Our next choices, two bruschetta type dishes, were also quite tasty. The first was composed of ricotta slathered bread rounds topped with grilled asparagus and blood orange zest and the second a grilled bread with perfectly ripe avocado, sprinkled with chopped pistachios and sea salt that was a favorite at the table.

Our hot dishes emerged next, branzino over a bed lentils with bacon and lemon, and  duck confit. The fish was excellent, complimented nicely by the lentils and sweet caramelized chippolini onions. The real winner in my book however was the duck. The meat was so rich it was like duck butter. Its accompaniments provided a pleasant surprise, what one expected to be roasted potatoes turns out to be roasted parsnip and apple that lent a certain brightness to an otherwise heavy dish.

Dinner left us just full enough and quite content. And then our mohawk-ed  waitress returned. Would we like dessert? Why yes, we would. She recommends the goat cheese cake and the evening’s special, a homemade s ‘more. We ordered both and added the warm fig, raspberry and almond crostada for good measure. The crostada, served with a basil infused crème anglaise was disappointing, much more exciting in print than on the plate.  The cheese cake however was lovely. Light and airy, it was served deconstructed, little quenelles of the goat cheese filling with fresh raspberries are sprinkled with buttery cookie crumbs in place of a heavy crust. Finally the s ‘more, rich chocolate ganache sandwiched between homemade gram crackers and topped with a little swirl of homemade marshmallow. For a table of chocolate lovers the dessert was near perfect, capping off a meal that secured Cork a place on my personal list of go-to restaurants in the city.


3 Responses to “Cork Wine Bar”

  1. Barbie March 6, 2010 at 2:46 am #

    the s’more wins the prize for best deconstructed comfort food desert of the season in my book! Sort of like a tiny baked alaska with ganache instead of hershey bars on graham crackers.

  2. Betsy March 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Yes Cork is now on my list of unexplored favorites. When I arrived 6:30 about 20 guests were present when I left about 8:30 – 120. It is obviously not a secret in town, the bar was full of 20-30 somethings with glasses of wine in hand on the hunt for companionship or to unload after work.
    One of my top 10 chocolate desserts of all time is the Smores, homemade graham crackers a little hard, but the squares of melt in your mouth ganache are a fantasty treat, that and a glass of sparkly pink wine. I could eat that as a meal any night.

  3. Barbie March 8, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    I second the s’mores being an all time favorite of a deconstructed comfort food dessert
    the ganache had a little jello ey texture which made a nice contrast with the home made graham crackers (yes, one did fly across the table when dug into with a fork!) and the meringue baked alaska type topping

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