Even before moving here, the Fork in Downtown Boise has been one of my favorite places to enjoy a nice meal at. Fork has been a fixture in Boise for some time now, with food that emphasizes international flavor made with local ingredients. Going in for an early dinner, I had my heart set on something simple—–a cocktail and a sandwich. At Fork, they have a sandwich list that is sure to please anyone, everything from their Grown Up Grilled Ham and Cheese to a Grilled Salmon or Chilled Prime Rib Sammy as well as a signature Urban Burger. If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, they also have an excellent choice of Main, From the Garden (salads) and Share Sample and Savor (appetizers and sides) dishes.
A nice cocktail was in order and the Vanilla Bean Old Fashioned was just the thing. Usually my favorite is their excellent Thyme for Bourbon cocktail, but this time I selected the Vanilla Bean Old Fashion. Made with Pendleton Whiskey from nearby Pendleton Oregon, this may be one of the smoothest cocktails around. The light aroma of the vanilla bean and slight tang of the bitters worked extremely well, allowing the taste of the whiskey to come through. For anyone who likes the taste of a nice smooth whiskey, this is a great drink to get. As is with many of the spirits, wines and beers, Fork in Downtown Boise steers towards local sources.
The Fork in Downtown Boise has integrated nicely many international flavors and menu items into their menu. One of my favorites is a good Cubano Sandwich, one of the most famous dishes of both Cuba and Miami. Fork does it, albeit with a few twists. The typical Black Forest Ham has been replaced with thin slices of rotisserie roasted pork loin, while the typical roast pork has been replaced by their slow-roasted pork carnitas. The pork loin is much less salty then the ham, so on Fork’s Cubano, you get more of the pork goodness and less of the saltiness. The carnitas bears some similarities to the usual roast pork, but just ups the flavor on it.
Other then that (and the sandwich does use mainly local ingredients as specified in the menu), this is a straight ahead Cubano, with all the elements that make it one of the world’s great sandwiches. A smooth Swiss Cheese from Ballard Family Farms is nicely melted, not far enough to be gooey but just enough to soften the cheese. The pickles add just enough saltiness to the sandwich, while the Chef’s ‘Mad Mustard’ sauce gives it just a touch of a bite. The whole sandwich is Placed into Gaston’s Panini Bread. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Cubano without being pressed, and the sandwich arrives with just the perfect amount of char lines on the well-pressed bread.
The flavor of this Cubano is exquisite. Not as salty as many, the choice of the roasted pork loin instead of the ham allows more of the true pork flavor to come out. The pulled pork carnitas adds texture and flavor to the sandwich, while the pressed panini bread yields a nice amount of textural crunch. All their sandwiches are served with their fresh house Jalapeño Lime Seasoned Potato Chips. The chips are warm, tasty and actually very mildly seasoned, good for even though who might think they’re spicy.
Located in the heart of downtown Boise, Fork provides a nice location to dine after an afternoon walk through the shops of downtown Boise or before a show or concert at the nearby classic Egyptian Theatre. Service is attentive and excellent, my waiter Tyler was very knowledgable about both food and drink. It is a comfortable place with a beautiful bar, with the entire place well lit from the expansive windows. Situated in the classic Boise City National Bank building, inside it is comfortable, airy and relaxing. They are open daily at 11:30am as well as Saturday and Sunday at 9:30am for brunch. And with food like their wonderful Cubano Sandwich, it is a great place to go back time after time to try the different menu items. The Fork in Downtown Boise is a true gem for dining pleasure.
199 North 8th Street
Boise, ID 83702
Phone (208) 287-1700