Review: Fork Restaurant Boise
When I first heard about Fork Restaurant and their focus on fresh, local ingredients, I knew I needed to pay them a visit. Then, when I contemplated the simplicity of the name further, I made a reservation and headed off to give them a try.
Fork is located in a historic bank building right downtown Boise. They’ve done some very nice remodeling, with warm woods and hip striped carpeting. It has a great vibe and a good ambiance. However, the tables are packed in far too close together so it feels like you’re eating dinner with the 2 tables on either side of you. In fact, you could just reach over and grab some of their fries off their plate if you wanted to. Other than that, I liked the feel and was ready for some good dining.
Fork Boise Appetizers
Fork has some fun sounding appetizers to choose from, like Lollipop Lamp Chops, Tomato Basil Fondue, and Casino Style Clams. But what really caught my eye were the Asparagus Fries. These things were delicious!
The Asparagus fries were dipped in a batter and then deep fried. The batter got nice and crispy, and seemed lite and non-greasy. They were perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper. They were perfectly cooked as well, remaining a bit crisp, bright green, soft, and delicious. They were served with a fantastic ranch sauce that was very lite as well, which was given a bit of “sophisticated fun” with the addition of little black sesame seeds as garnish. What a great appetizer and/or side with their burgers. I highly recommend giving them a try.
Fork Restaurant Boise Sandwiches and Burgers
Fork has a sandwich for just about everyone. Brisket & Ground Sirloin Blend burgers, grilled salmon sandwiches, a grilled cheese with balsamic onions and tomato jam, a grilled portobello sandwich, and several more. All look to be served on a giant brioche bun.
I’ve been told by several friends that the burger at Fork is exceptional. I haven’t a chance to try it myself, but it certainly looked massive and tasty in front of my neighboring diners. I noticed that their burgers were all served on a checkered cutting board. What fun. What I did get to try, though, was the Roast BBQ Chicken sandwich.
This sandwich was large and flavorful. The menu reads, “hot pulled rotisserie free-range chicken, melted Ballard Farms Cheddar, and smoky aioli on brioche bun.” The chicken was very moist and seasoned well. The BBQ sauce was very sweet with a touch of spicy kick. Nice. All around, it was a very good sandwich.
It was served with a side of Rosemary-Parmesan French Fries. These were actually very good. But I was a bit disappointed that it was canned parmesan (of the Kraft variety perhaps), and that there was hardly any rosemary to speak of.
An Entree Disappointment at Fork Restaurant
Chicken and waffles, pan seared sea scallops, mushroom ravioli, salmon, short ribs, and several steaks to choose from, but no, I had to listen to my server and take his recommendation of the Idaho Rainbow Trout. The menu made it sound good, “pan-grilled Hageman Farms trout, tomato vinaigrette and braised greens.” My server said it was his favorite on the menu. Well, he’s either an idiot or the rest of Fork’s entrees are really bad, because this trout dish was not good. It’s only redeeming quality was the presentation. It was beautiful and I really liked how they served one filet skin side up to contrast with the other meat-side filet.
Well, I guess another good quality was that the fish was very fresh and clean. How could it not be having just come from Hagerman, a mere two hour drive from Boise?
Another positive was that the tomato vinaigrette added a really nice color to the plate which complimented the delicately colored trout meat nicely.
The major flaw with the entire dish was the complete lack of flavor. I saw salt, I saw pepper, but this dish was as bland as unsweetened oatmeal. The only hint of flavoring additive was a subtle smokiness from the high-heat pan sear. The whole thing sort of worked together when eaten with the braised kale greens, but the entire thing seriously needs a flavor boosting overhaul. Maybe stick with burger?
Fork Local Concept is Good but Maybe Overrated
In conclusion, Fork has a good concept going on and has a great name, but their execution of serving awesome food from awesome local ingredients is a bit lacking. And upon further investigation, all of those “local” ingredients aren’t necessarily local at all. Many come from northern Washington, western Oregon, and California. If you really want to do a local menu, you should contract with local produce farms exclusively and/or have your own garden for the restaurant, and you shouldn’t get your beef from feed lots like Agri-Beef, but instead should contract with a small local rancher raising natural grass fed beef. Good concept, but I’m thinking it may be more of a marketing gimmick than a true local conviction.
The Bald Gourmet reviews new local restaurants, like Fork in downtown Boise.