Monday, August 30, 2010

A Twisted Stab at Food Review: The Bent Fork

This is an age of fast food, quickly prepared and often of low quality, so it is refreshing to stumble upon a dining establishment that so thoroughly exceeds expectations and gives a unique and fresh view of the culinary scene. The Bent Fork offers more than just food; it provides the experience of a memorable and exquisite culinary encounter.

When I opened the door to the Bent Fork, the first thing I noticed was the artwork near the front entrance. A variety of forks were bent into spirals, waves, curves, and zig-zags, with each fork framed in its own red wooden box. It was modern and simple, and it set an intriguing tone for my visit. The decor throughout the restaurant mirrored this welcoming artwork, being tasteful and clean, but with a dash of unexpected flavor.

Dark tables starkly contrasted with light brown floors and walls. In the background, the music selections were contemporary and relaxing. Unlike many restaurants, which assault their patrons with loud and annoying songs that mar the eating experience, the Bent Fork offered a refreshingly appropriate soundtrack to complement a meal. Overall, it was a very inviting ambiance.

The service was prompt and friendly. I was greeted immediately, and was seated quickly. The friendly hostess made me feel like an appreciated customer right away, and my waitress was top notch. I was given a menu and ample time to order, and was asked if I had any questions about menu, which surprised me since I have never been asked that before at a restaurant. The menu itself was simple and to the point. There were no pictures, and the descriptions were constrained to a line or two. This, however, did not diminish the dining experience. I found it refreshing not to have to wade through ten pages of menu just to find the entrees and another three to find the drinks and desserts. Free from the bloat of advertisements and promotions, the menu consisted of just one brown page, printed on both sides.

My first regret was that I had not come hungry enough to sample most of the menu. Most of the entrées and sandwiches sounded absolutely delicious. The Bent Fork club sandwich piqued my interest with its grilled chicken, avocado, chipotle mayo, bacon and tomato. The three cheese ravioli also was tempting and many of the sides, such as herb mashed potatoes and garlic bread, sounded intriguing. The dessert list was small, but it made up in quality what it lacked in quantity, featuring delicacies such as gelato trio and Italian creme torte. One thing that surprised me was the lack of a wine list. Although I do not drink, I was surprised by the lack of a wine list. The Bent Fork seemed to be the type of establishment that would offer more sophisticated beverages than soft drinks, coffee, milk, juice, and tea.

I was seated in a booth with high backed benches, which lent a much more private feel than the tables at most dining establishments. The tables were a dark cherry color, and the large, black, linen napkins concealed heavy, expensive flatware. After considerable deliberation, I ordered the green chili lasagna, the restaurant's signature dish. My meal came with the choice of a salad or the soup of the day; I chose the soup. My white bean and sausage soup was brought out promptly, in a small but elegant bowl. Underneath the bowl, on the matching saucer, I was surprised to find a four square inch piece of onion skin, which matched the brown decor. Little touches like this, present throughout my dining experience, greatly added to the restaurant's appeal.

The soup itself was quite good. The beans and the sausage were both high quality, and it was topped with some sort of green leaf that added a nice flavor. The sausage made the soup rather slightly, but not overly so. A garlic bread stick came with the soup, and was also delicious. My friend, who ordered a turkey sandwich with a side of fries, found the wait for her food to be excessive, but since I had got the soup first I did not find the wait to be nearly as unbearable as she did.

When her food did finally arrive, my friend was impressed with the quality of the food and of the dinnerware. Her sandwich and fries, which came separate from her sandwich, were in large, black, metal sandwich baskets. The ketchup came in stainless steel condiment cups, another surprising fine touch. I was also impressed with the presentation of my entree, the lasagna, on a thick stoneware plate.

The lasagna itself was very delicious. The green chili lasagna gets its name from the green chili sauce, but also features smoked chicken, house-made pasta, Italian cheese, and sliced bell peppers. I received a good-sized piece, which came centered in the middle of a large plate covered in the green chile sauce. The overall effect was very professional and gourmet and had obviously been done by a chef who had formal culinary training. Because everything was made fresh, the dish had much more flavor than expected. The lasagna pasta noodles were wonderfully tender and the cheese was delightfully cheesy.

The prices were surprisingly low for the fine quality of the dining experience. My lasagna and soup were only $14.00 and my friend's sandwich and fries were only $7.00. Because of the overwhelming quality of the dining, I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for somewhere to eat that is out of the ordinary, yet reasonably priced.

My score:
Service: 9/10
Atmosphere: 9/10
Food: 10/10
Price: 10/10
Decor: 9/10
Overall: 9.5/10

This is for my English class. I need about half a page (a full page would be safer) more (double spaced) of content. If any of you have any ideas as to what I can add to fill this out more, it would be greatly appreciated. I tried to go over every single element that I could think of that was related to my dinning experience and now I'm out of ideas. Also, what do you think of the name of the blog entry? Ideas? Suggestions? Thanks in advance! : )