For now, I have to dish about Corks in Federal Hill. Corks recently got both an interior and a menu facelift. I never went to the old Corks, so I can't make a comparison, but I was very impressed with the new and improved Corks. The interior was designed by Baltimore designer, Patrick Sutton, who also designed Cindy Wolf's Charleston. Exposed brick walls, warm orange tones and dark wood with tall ceilings in the first dining room to make it feel larger than it really is.
Corks, as you can imagine, has an extensive wine list that focuses on small vineyards you've probably never heard of. Since we couldn't agree on a bottle, the five of us got glasses of our choice. I ordered the Hendry Pinot Noir, recommended by our server to complement the House Blend of cheese fondue that we all split with sauteed mushrooms, bison meatballs, bread, and apples. Both the wine and the fondue were delicious, and I think if no one had been watching, one of us would have tipped the fondue back and licked out the remaining cheese! SO good!
For dinner I had the salmon with shrimp and couscous. The plate was very simple, but nicely arranged and seasoned perfectly. Joe had the sweetbreads, which he insists were pancreas. Well, he should know. Friends got vegetable strudel, the grilled pleasant ridge (tomato confit and basil on wheat berry bread) and a beef dish with sweet potatoes and green beans.
I sampled the vegetable strudel and really liked it. It was quinoa, goat cheese and veggies wrapped in phyllo dough. We all took turns tasting each other's desserts. Chocolate mousse was too rich to eat much, pumpkin gelato was refreshing, but a little heavy on the serving size, and the PB&J with nutella was the clear winner. (Unfortunately it wasn't mine, so I couldn't go crazy).
The wine selection is interesting but very pricey. I would recommend taking advantage of their selection by ordering by the glass so you can sample more than one wine. Also to note - beyond the front dining room is a great bar in the back room. The interior is darker, but it looked like a great place to hide away.