Moving past the “why is the cork on the fork?” scene this restaurant’s name brought to mind (from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Michael Caine and Steve Martin), we adjusted to the ambience of the La Quinta, CA hideaway.
In the restaurant dubbed a “unique wine bar and kitchen,” you’ll relish the hand-selected wine list (CORK) and fresh tasting small plates menu (FORK). Chef/ owner Andie Hubka delivered one of our small plates choices quietly without fanfare, but fanfare is what this individual and her creations deserve.
Plunging into gustatory delights, we struck it right with first tastes of berries and lilacs in a Pinot Noir, and ginormous Local Dates graced with Point Reyes Blue Cheese and toasted almonds in garlic chive oil.
The Prosciutto Carpaccio with wild baby arugula, shaved parmesan, honey Dijon aioli, and garlic breadcrumbs was a hit.
Our attempt to linger over Spicy Korean Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps failed miserably due to perfectly pickled vegetables, cashew, sweet soy, mango, and petite Honeygem lettuce contrasting crisp pork bits. We licked the bowl.
The Shrimp & Grits, with organic heirloom grits, Andouille sausage, OMG tasso gravy and scallions, did not disappoint even this foodie who recently learned the art of gumbo in Louisiana.
Butterscotch Pot du Crème (crème fraiche, Maldon flake sea salt) was our selection for a sweet finale, and we properly indulged with the addition of applewood smoked bacon. You’ve got to try it.
Cork & Fork, La Quinta, CA: http://www.corkandforkwinebar.com.