Last Night's Dinner: The Good Fork
Well, that's one down on the to-eat list. I wasn't expecting to be able to cross off The Good Fork any time soon but DMR and I found ourselves at this newish Red Hook restaurant last night with Handbags and Gladragss (aka D. Nelson, Esq.) and Oda. The rain started soon after we sat down at our table in the scruffy covered back patio area (wait, is that a mean thing to say? I'm not trying to be mean, but the patio seemed like a work in progress, not that anyone minded. I was just happy we didn't have to wait.) and the percussive drops against the roof set a nice tone for the evening.
The chef at the Good Fork is Korean-American and so along with dishes like farm-raised chicken with potato-parsnip mash and parpadelle with lamb ragu, the diner can order steak and eggs "Korean-style" which is just brilliant. Koreans have known for a long time that kimchi goes really well with lots of things. The "Korean-style" in this case refers to the kimchi fried rice that adorns the plate alongside a perfectly cooked skirt steak (medium in my case) with a soy (or perhaps balsamic?) reduction and fried egg with a brilliant yellow yolk. Not only is this picture terrible because I took it without the flash on, but the plate was also turned so you can barely see the rice. Around 11 o'clock if you're wondering.
Kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite foods and like any good Korean, I think my mother's version is the best. On visits home back in the day, it's one of three things I'd want to eat (her kimchi jigae and Callahan's being the other two). Nowadays we just eat out whenever we visit so a homecooked plate of kimchi fried rice is rare. This version was a pretty good substitute. It could have used more kimchi pieces in the rice but overall it was really flavorful as the house-made kimchi was at a perfect state of ripeness. But I am getting way ahead of myself because before the entrees, we got some really tasty starters beginning with the bread!
I'm curious to know what bakery the Good Fork gets their bread from. Our first helping was soft and chewy; Dave likened it to a Portuguese roll while it reminded me of a potato roll. The second batch (we devoured the first really, really fast) crusty and a little saltier, but equally tasty. One small detail which I liked a lot: the butter was soft and easily spreadable. What's the point of serving butter if you can't get your knife into it? Dan and I shared the special salad of bitter greens, halved figs, blue cheese and candied walnuts in a lemon vinaigrette and for the entire table we ordered a plate of pork and chive dumplings and the special potato dumplings with braised oxtails. The former came five to an order, encased in a wrapper so thin you could see the filling through it, and accompanied by a small dish of dipping sauce, in which I could have liked a little more vinegar. They brought back memories of the handmade dumplings the Korean PTA ladies at my elementary school would make to sell at fundraisers. The gnocchi could have perhaps benefited from a tad more salt, but overall it was a hearty, stick to your ribs perfect for a rainy day dish that would make a great addition to the menu as an entree. I'd order it with a side of kimchi fried rice. Starch city!
For our mains, Jen also got the steak and eggs K-style, while Dan and Dave both ordered the burger, Dan with cheddar on his. The menu says 8 ounces, but it looked and felt heftier than that. The patty was nestled in between halves of a sturdy but not too dense bun. The bun top reminded me of a portobello mushroom and maybe in a funny way, this as well. Come to think of it, Dave maybe have referred to this bread as Portuguese roll-like. It was definitely spongier than you would have imagined from looking at it. The tangle of divine tempura'ed onion rings that accompany the burger will make you forget about french fries - at least for a little bit. They were gobbled up in minutes so we got an extra side order for the table, which arrived as a heaping mass in a white bowl.
The dessert menu super cute - the size of an oversized ticket folder in half, with "mmm" written on the front. Along with a selection of digestifs were the following three options: Steve's key lime pie, a flourless chocolate cake with creme anglais and rasberry sauce and an apple tart with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. We went with the chocolate cake and apple tart, under the logic of the pie not being house-made and available at Fairway and other points throughout the city. Armed with our spoons, neither dessert had a fighting chance.
We got really friendly service throughout the night and co-owner even followed us out the door to thank us. We'll be back.