I was very excited to discover that my new house is just a stone’s throw away from the popular DC wine bar, Cork. I went there for the first time last week for dinner, and had a great experience. Like Proof, Cork is a place known for its wine but also has great food; but while Proof has a full menu, Cork only has little plates to share.
As the name suggests, Cork is very focused on wine. As we walked to our table in the back of the restaurant (the space is so much bigger than it appears from the outside!), it seemed as though everyone was enjoying a glass; there was not a cocktail in sight. I also discovered a framed copy of De Long’s Wine Grape Varietal Table hanging on the wall. Shaped like a periodic table, the poster organizes grapes based on their acidity and other factors. This allows the viewer to find their favorite types (Malbec and Montepulciano for me) and see what other grapes are similar. Very cool.
As for me, I had a glass of the Montepulciano, my current favorite dinner wine, and was not disappointed. I also tried the Côtes du Rhône, which was delicious as well. It is interesting to note that all of the wines by the glass are from Europe–France, Italy and Spain– only. I wonder why…
Seated in the back of Cork, we could see into the kitchen (teeny tiny!) and were surprised by how much food they could produce in the period of time we were there. But more importantly, the food was really good.
First, I need to discuss the Avocado over grilled bread with pistachios, toasted pistachio oil, and sea salt. Ordering this cold plate was a given for me, because avocado is basically the best thing in the world, especially with a little bit of salt. In the way that some people love bacon, I love avocado. But its different; when one cooks with bacon, the whole dish just tastes like bacon, while avocado just makes everything taste better. Cork’s version of avocado preparation is great; the pistachios add unique and delicious flavor.
We also ordered a number of hot plates, including the Grilled Angus Flat Iron Steak served with rapini, braised raddichio, and horseradish sauce and the “exotic mushroom duxelle” and french fries. My only real complaint of the night would be that they served us the french fries and then the mushrooms long before our steak arrived, when we ordered them with the hope that they would come together and complement each other. The last thing I wanted to do was fill up on french fries before the steak came. However, all three dishes were delicious. The hot, crisp french fries came with homemade ketchup with a palatable cinnamon spice. The mushrooms were really nicely flavored with fresh herbs; I only wish they were still hot when the wonderfully tender piece of steak came.
I really couldn’t ask for a better place to be situated across the street from my house. I can’t wait for their Market and Tasting Room to open down the block… I envision a lot of cheese in my future…