Last Updated: 11/1/2022
Current Status: Cork is back to full open, both at the downstairs bar and upstairs restaurant (though the upstairs does not seem to be open on slow nights). They also have outdoor options for dining, take-out and delivery – and shipping on wine from the market! A new chef came on board just before all hell broke loose and is gently put his mark on the menu without upsetting some favorites. It remains a favorite.
Gift Cards – Proceeds to go employee relief.
Before Times Review:
Cork started as a phenomenon and settled into a very good neighborhood place. It was a pioneer on 14thStreet and all the cool kids flocked. The bartending team and kitchen had some rising stars (one of the Brown Brothers and Ron Tanaka). Now it has settled into new digs across the street with a bar upstairs and down, and a restaurant upstairs plus a shop on the first floor. It may be a busy layout, but it is the same old Cork. Thank goodness.
Despite being an incubator and a refuge for talent in the kitchen, the principles of the menu have remained. Small plates, divided by cold and hot. Staples have purchase in the hearts of locals (mushrooms, flatbreads, kale with garlic), and one of the best dishes in D.C. resides here: Avocado slices on bread with pistachios, walnut oil, and sea salt.
It is the same old Cork. Thank goodness.
It is food meant to be social, but can be enjoyed solo. Sometimes there are specials, but the best way to order is to ask what is new. It might be lavender-crusted lamb chops, which were both novel and delightful.
The wine list is old-world. A long by-the-glass list gives choices for almost everyone — unless you are looking for a new world fruit-bomb. There are several gems dotting the bottle list. Prices are reasonable trying to match the market it hosts.
The staff has seen some recent turnover, but remains friendly and efficient. As it marks a decade in business, Cork has turned from a bright shiny object (that could have been passed by) into a newly polished one with a deep patina that you appreciate more and more.