It's time to consider a revisit to Fork: The restaurant's signature tasting menu has been given a top-to-bottom makeover. The new "Our Terroir" menu continues chef Eli Kulp's exploration of regional ingredients, dishes, and customs, with a full new slate of off-menu dishes.
That means a rabbit and buckwheat pasta featuring grains and rabbits raised on the same Berks County land, and an updated tribute to the Pine Barrens in the form of local venison with roasted pine mushrooms and pine nut crema. It also means so-called "house Funyuns" adorning a dish inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch creamed onions, and a new "chocolate bark" dessert from Sam Kincaid that involves roasted sunchoke, black walnut, and sarsaparilla meringue.
The physical menu itself is more ambitious, too: It will be presented in a Field Notes memo book, with the "story" of each dish presented in paragraph form and accompanied by the chefs' sketches and notes, providing some insight into the intricacies of each plate and into Kulp's internal monologue. "Q: What happens if we cook buttermilk down to sec [dry]?" asks one of his notes. "A: Cool!!" (Of course, plenty of things will still remain a mystery until you dig in: The onions and cream course contains a note with an arrow pointing toward it that reads simply, "Surprise inside.") Pastry chef Sam Kincaid contributes her own sketches for the cheese and dessert courses.
The accompanying list of dish descriptions — which focuses heavily on producers, inspirations, and Amish chickens served on "old granite shingles from a dilapidated farmhouse" — is included below. Click through the sketches here:
- Buttermilk skin and chicken courses Sketches by chef Eli Kulp
- Smoked eel and scrambled egg starter, onions and cream Sketches by chef Eli Kulp
- Oysters and celery, potato tea Sketches by chef Eli Kulp
- Live clam Sketches by chef Eli Kulp
- Rabbit and buckwheat pasta, vollkornbrot Sketches by chef Eli Kulp
- 'Pine Barrens' venison Sketches by chef Eli Kulp
- Cheese and dessert Sketches by chef Sam Kincaid
The new tasting menu is available Tuesday through Saturday for $110 per person, not including pairings, and must be ordered by the full table. Reservations are strongly recommended to ensure the availability of the tasting menu. (With advance notice, the restaurant can typically accommodate requests for tastings on other nights, too. The a la carte menu and customizable "house menu" tasting option are both still available as well.)