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Friday, 17 January 2014

A Phork in the Road

Jinxed locations seem to be a recurring theme as of late. The Copper Pot's former haunt, for example, overlooks both the river valley and the Legislature. An unparalleled and enviable vista. The Copper Pot, however, packed it in several years ago, and was quickly replaced by Antonio's By Nello's. The superlative view could not sustain Antonio's - we hardly knew ye, son of Nello's. The Phork appeared in this spot just before Christmas, propelled by the same folk that ran the now-defunct Tesoro in Oliver Square.

The Phork's view is nothing short of breathtaking. The frozen river glitters under a combination of natural and anthropogenic light, and the Leg - though the dome is under renovation - sits stolidly in repose. Pop art from The Godfather adorns one wall, though a TV near the entrance would not be missed, should it meet with an untimely fate.

Supper begins with strength: Ambrosia Apple and Anjou Pear Slaw sings of sunny citrus and heady maple, with the occasional pungent interjection of Canadian Oka cheese. A melange of greenery undernearth plays "best supporting actor" with pride.

Tenderloin-Stuffed Tortellini, however, are a hot mess in both the visual and gustatory sense. The tortellini were removed from their boiling bath too soon and their toughness masks the sweet beef within. Shavings of parmigiano seem clunky and the spinach is superfluous. Gratings of cheese and an abundance of mushrooms would have better adorned this dish.

Pan-Fried Walleye (though the menu incorrectly lists it as "pickerel" - these are not the same species) restores faith. Moist and tender fillets loll over spicy chickpea ragu that roars with layers of spice. Spinach, again, seems out of place, but piquant and salty capers are happy companions.

Chocolate Beignets are a sweet coda. These teeny spheres are piping hot and sighing with cocoa. They are not too big and not too small, but are just right. The Phork, though still finding its feet, has indisputable potential to do justice by its panoramic river view, and stick to the road for the long haul.

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