Tim Groody's new spot highlights local ingredients in a comforting atmosphere
In an early 1900s home in Cornelius with creaky floors, tchotchkes, and fake flowers, Chef Tim Groody’s new restaurant, Fork!, is easy to overlook. But if given a chance, it’s apparent that Groody, a leader of Charlotte’s farm-to-table movement who has worked alongside such noteworthy chefs as Daniel Boulud and Ben Barker, is having fun in the kitchen. And with Fork!’s focus on local, organic and naturally raised ingredients, elegant dishes, and approachable atmosphere, it’s worth more than a passing glance.
In stark contrast to the décor, simplicity and modernity are key when it comes to the menu. A spicy pork dumpling dish ($5) with soy “pearls” is a standout; petite but easily shared. The daily specials are a good bet, as each dish is crafted to highlight the freshest and best local ingredients Groody can find. If the French horn and shiitake mushroom ragout ($6) with sweet potato grits is available, it’s a must-try.
Entrees are also straightforward, allowing Groody’s carefully chosen ingredients to shine. Gilcrest Natural Farm Bavette Steak ($16) is sliced thin and fanned out on a white dish with only a red wine sauce to keep it company. Wild striped bass ($17) comes with a choice of sauce; options include lobster with herb oil and roasted red beet syrup. Sides, offered a la carte, are uncomplicated and satisfying. A risotto ($3.50) with arugula, caramelized leeks, and goat cheese is light and creamy; and asparagus ($3.50) arrives lightly grilled, enhancing its fresh, bright taste. Don’t skip the cocktails, which juxtapose familiar flavors with creative twists—especially the blood orange habañero margarita ($10), which packs only a hint of spicy heat.
A casual gathering of close friends or family would fit right in at Fork!, but the bar crowd can get loud, and when it’s busy, the sound carries from room to room. (If you’re hoping for a quiet, romantic meal, this may not be the place for you.) Whatever the occasion, Groody’s welcoming restaurant is a good choice for those seeking simple, classic fare in an inviting, casual setting.