A new wine bar with a chef who was previously a sous-chef at CityZen, Palena and Michel Richard Citronelle? YES, PLEASE!
Cork is done in the popular “urban renewal” style of clean lines of a refurbished older building. The ceilings are high (making it very noisy) and polished concrete and support beams abound. Cork’s best feature, though, is a large bar with an extension at the corner of the “L” making for more bar space and a little nook.
In walking to the bathroom (really, just two for the whole place?) I noted a full, bustling restaurant I’d love to check out for a sit-down meal.
Because we were camped out at the bar, we had great service. The bartenders were easy to grab and recommended some great small plates. We had a large party (for Alison’s birthday, incidently) and bought bottles of bubbly instead of just each person getting a glass. The bartenders kept glasses filled and new wine selections poured quickly.
The food and wine:
Cork mainly deals in “Old World” wines, and I tend to prefer New World (with the exceptions of Sangiovese and Dolcetto) so I decided to stick with the bubbles. I drank a few glasses of Domaine de Martinolles, Blanquette de Limoux, “Le Berceau,” Brut NV, Grape: Mauzac Region: Roussillon and throughly enjoyed it at $7 a glass. Brian went with Molino di Sant’Antimo, Chianti dei Colli Senesi 2005, Grapes: Sangiovese and Canaiolo Region: Tuscany for $10 a glass and also really loved it.
To eat, we indulged in foods that could be passed around our large group: Charcuterie Selection, which desperately needed bread or an accompanying spread (although the mini gerkins were delightful), Red-Wine Braised Lamb, which was To. Die. For., and Pan-Crisped Brioche Sandwich of prosciutto, fontina, with an egg on top that sounds a little odd but was a HUGE hit with everyone.
And then there was the calamari. Yes, I know everyone does calamari, but this was SO GOOD: not greasy but light and salty, and our group ordered three servings. We wanted to try the chicken livers, but evidently everyone else did too and they were sold out.
I thought Cork was great and a wonderful addition to the Logan Circle area. Wine bars for everyone! Now if Veritas near me could just get up to snuff on the cooking…
Best for: Wine lovers who want some decent nosh.
Worst for: Non-drinkers.