Review: Fork Restaurant Boise

Feb 12, 2012 by     3 Comments    Posted under: Boise, Idaho, Restaurants, Reviews, Uncategorized
Fork Restaurant Boise

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 Boise Asparagus Fries Appetizer

Fork Boise Asparagus Fries Appetizer

 

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 Boise Idaho Rainbow Trout Entree

Fork Boise Idaho Rainbow Trout Entree

 

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.

Fork on Urbanspoon

The Bald Gourmet reviews new local restaurants, like Fork in downtown Boise.

 

3 Comments + Add Comment

  • I just ate here over the weekend, went on a SAT for breakfast, it was amazing. They incorporated ingredients from the farmers market, we sat outside the service was fanaminal as were the cocktails and food. We had their house bloody marys which are garnished with a blue cheese stuffed olive, to die for! I had the breakfast skillet, one of the best I’ve had, fresh, healthy and delicious. I would highly recommend fork for breakfast.

    • Thanks for the comment Shannon. I have to try out their breakfast menu. Thanks for the tip.

  • I’ve eaten at Fork twice and found it disappointing each time.

    The first time, both my friend and I tried the burger. The presentation is lovely, but we both felt the burger tasted funny (perhaps it’s the blend of brisket and sirloin?) and agreed it wasn’t something we would order again. The second time I went out with a group of three and one of the members of our party tried the burger and came to the same conclusion. I thought the fries were fine, but I agree with you that given they are Rosemary-Parmesan fries, an item I’ve tried elsewhere, they lack flavor. I was also disappointed with the sauce that accompanied the fries. It was so flavorless that I ended up mixing my own fry sauce at the table. Both times, I tried the Fork’s Signature Warm Butter Cake. The first time it was excellent. The second time it was dried out and flavorless.

    The second time I went, one of my friends had the Chicken Pot Pie, which small, expensive and nowhere near as tasty as a Marie Callendar’s chicken pot pie, even the frozen version of which puts Fork’s to shame. One of my friends tried the Grown Up Grilled Cheese sandwich. Though she found it flavorful, she found mold on the bread. The restaurant staff was kind enough to replace the sandwich and deduct the charge, but still… I tried a bite of her sandwich and wasn’t impressed. I tried the BAM Sammy, Fork’s version of a BLT. I love even the simplest version of this sandwich, but this BLT wasn’t one I’d order again. I liked many of the ingredients separately, but they didn’t work well together. The combination of the brioche style bun, maple-flavored bacon, overly ripe avocado, nondescript mozzarella and the tomato-basil pesto made for a sandwich that had an overly sweet flavor profile. And with everything all smooshed together on soft eggy bread (there’s a reason why BLTs and burgers are customarily served on toasted bread), you couldn’t appreciate the individual flavors of the ingredients either. Add to that, we received poor service both times.

    I’m intrigued by Fork’s creative menu, but based on my two experiences with 4 different people, only one of who enjoyed their meal and would consider returning, I would have to think twice about giving Fork another shot.

I love hearing from my readers, so please go ahead and leave a comment!


six × = 12

Welcome!

The Bald Gourmet Mug

I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.