Cape Fear Foodie: Fork and Cork
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When I first moved to Wilmington years ago, I knew I was moving to a city with plenty of dining options. Given my love for the show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” I decided to search out if any locations around town had been featured on the show. There are several, all of which we will highlight here (eventually) but the first place I went to eat downtown was Fork and Cork.
So as a friend came to visit last weekend, I thought why not share that same experience with him? We went before 6 p.m. in the middle of the week (getting in here around dinner time on the weekends is near impossible) and settled into the small, but cozy confines of this famous eatery. I really like coming here because it gives you that feel of a dive, but the food isn’t your typical chicken wings and loaded cheese fries, what comes out of the kitchen is truly exceptional.
On the restaurant’s website, they walk you through Guy Fieri’s visit, so you can try what he sampled during the show’s taping. I can attest the “Duck Wings” are different, but well worth a try. The “Wellington Bites” are great too, as are the “Fried Pickles”, the “Rattlesnake Bites” and the famed “Scotch Egg.” Though for my money, one of the best appetizers in the entire city is Fork and Cork’s “Fonduta.”
Served in a cast-iron skillet, it’s a rich mixture of melted cheeses, walnuts, honey, and chili flakes (and served with crostinis). It’s creamy, it’s spicy, it’s sweet, it’s perfection. Whatever you do when you come here, be adventurous and try any of the options on the menu, but please do yourself a favor and order the Fonduta, it’s really that good.
Fork and Cork is also known for its inventive burgers and sandwiches. They run the gamut from a “Chicken n Waffles” sandwich, to “Meatloaf,” and even a “Carolina Burger,” topped with chili, slaw, cheddar, and mustard. There is something for everyone, but like I said, when coming to a place like this, take advantage of the kitchen’s creativeness and go on a little culinary adventure.
Unfortunately my friend wasn’t feeling quiet as curious as me and went with a massive “Crispy Chicken Sandwich,” though he added some pimento cheese (since he’s in the South). He also subbed his handcut fries for a heaping mound of mac & cheese. The sandwich was loaded, and the mac was ooey gooey good. It goes to show even the simpler things on the menu are cooked with the same attention level as something like the “Duck, Duck, Goose Burger” (which of course, is what I chose).
Wow, where to begin here? A patty of ground duck is noticeably leaner than traditional beef. But the burger sent me straight to “Flavortown” with goose pate, a fried duck egg, port wine cherry sauce, arugula, and red onion. It’s such a unique burger, and maybe not for everyone, but my goodness is it tasty. Plus the fries are addicting as well, I would absolutely order this again.
Fork and Cork also offers a host of massive salads and has a separate brunch menu for Saturday and Sunday that includes items such as a Brisket Biscuit, French Toast with toffee pudding battered toast, and even Gravlax. In short, there is a lot on the menu and you can easily visit several times and have a completely different order than before and not fall into the typical “this is my favorite” syndrome. Except of course the Fonduta, always order the Fonduta.
IN CASE YOU GO:
Fork and Cork (Wilmington) is located at 122 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28401
Fork and Cork (Carolina Beach) is located at 102 Cape Fear Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Do you recommend a restaurant? Or know of a best kept secret that you want the rest of the Cape Fear to know about? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to feature your selection. Cheers!
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