Cork Restaurant – Chandler, AZ

December 16, 2008 at 11:01 am | Posted in Restaurant Review | Leave a comment
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Well, it’s been about two weeks since I visited this little strip-mall gem of a restaurant so I better blog it now before the details get lost…

My girlfriend texted me to say she was taking me to dinner, and be ready. When she arrived home she asked if I was ready for a drive. I was, but boy what a drive. It was about an hour at rush hour from our house in Central Phoenix, and we arrived at a strip mall. Once I knew we were going to Chandler, I assumed there would be a mall involved – very few standalone restaurants exist there, from what I know.

However, once you walked in the door you forgot you were next to a grocery store. The place is well-appointed, with some great lighting. Pretty upscale, for sure. I guess the owners prefer it not be called fine-dining since no fine dining restaurants ever make it in the East Valley. Whatever.

There is a dining room and a bar. There is also a patio, which was not opened on the weekday night we were there, but it looked nice! The dining room is separated down the center with some cool chain mail curtains, copper if I remember right.

The staff was attentive, and knowledgeable about the product and explained the dishes are “small plate” meaning there is about 3oz of protein per dish, arranged artfully along with the chef’s chosen accoutrement.

This means, that you should order roughly 5 plates for 2 people to be full. That’s OK because the prices are reasonable and they have a good selection of wines by the glass to accompany them.

The menu features some twists on comfort food like mac n’ cheese and fried chicken, but really it focuses on wild game. Athena started with the mac n’ cheese. I started with a nice organic greens salad because it had a blue cheese I had never tried, Pete’s. The salad was tasty, colorful and fresh. The Pete’s was definitely no Maytag, but then what is? The mac was tasty with a nice smoky flavor from the bacon.

The next two courses consisted of a selection of wild games. Antelope, duck (not really wild), wild boar, some foie gras (which turns out we are not fans of) and something else – I don’t recall now. The wild boar was the definite standout. Fabulous stuff, cooked to perfection with a nice hunter sauce drizzled over it for good measure. The antelope was also tasty, and the duck – well I never met a duck I didn’t like.

Dessert was awesome. Cherries in a port wine reduction that was to die for. There may have been chocolate involved. If there was, it was completely overshadowed by the cherries. I guess I really need to write these reviews sooner, so I recall the nuances.

To sum it up, Cork is worth a visit, for sure. We will make the trek again, absolutely. Preferably not during rush hour. They have a website that can give you a little bit more information, if you care to look.

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