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Corks, South Baltimore

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It was a titillating meander past the enticing display of artisanal domestic cheeses in the front room. Cork's softly buzzing and cozy-glow atmosophere was welcoming on a rainy night. As was our server dynamo, Scotty.

We settled in the back dining room near racks of wine and the laid-back scene at the copper-topped bar.

My companion's starter was the Merguez Corn Dog Spanish Style Lamb Sausage; Cornmeal Batter, Gourmet Popcorn and Mustard Sauce for $7. The slender sausage was a tasty and texture satisfying pick though the corn doggy crust lacked salt and flavor. Yay popcorn!

I started this much anticipated cheesy evening with the foie gras! special that might have been forgettable on it's soft bed of savory quinoa but was piqued by cranberry goodness.

The gastro-highlight of the occasion was my companion's Gyro: Shaved Gyro Style Leg of Lamb, Goat Cheese, Herbed Cucumber Sauce and Pita $11. Served with excellent fries nudged more so by the smile-provoking chipotle-laced catsup (thanks for that one, Scotty).

Stellar Scotty deftly steered us to a far better glass of wine than the pinot we ordered.

Fondue fan I am. But the Chef's Unique Blend $7 was a boring luke-warm conglomeration of soft-ripened cheese with too soupy viscosity and chunks. My accompaniments choices: tad dry Bison meatballs on the rosemary side $6, a few slices of lame red delicious apples $3 and perfectly nice bits of bread.

We were too too for a cheese plate course. A pity. Or dessert. I wanted the seasonal bread pudding. Always wanting…

I ordered poorly, but remain enticed by the overall menu http://www.corksrestaurant.com/menu.asp#1 and eager for more.

Cork's wine and cheese scene beckons well for Federal Hill.

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I live in Fed Hill and have peeked in but never stopped in since the window-view was not overly enticing. However, one of my friends took me there earlier this month, and boy, was it a surprise!!! The back room houses a beautiful small bar, with maybe 10 tables or so. It was around 9ish when we got there. Rob, the bartender, was wonderful at picking wines to fit my taste buds. Also, Levy / Levi, the younger chef, made me a special meal with rockfish, home-made chorizo (SPICY), chick peas, and royal trumpet mushrooms. The whole meal was presented in a very simple and clean manner. The rockfish was seared beautifully, with the insides still juicy and tender. I love spicy food so the chorizo just brought in enough heat to make me very happy. I hate chick peas, but the peas brought the dish together in a wonderful and chewy manner. I love mushrooms so I may be very biased when I say the royal trumpets were wonderful as well.

The atmosphere was great, food simple and elegant, and people nice - overall, great experience.

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This is our close-to-home place. We've been a few times in the last couple of months.

I disagree with Treva on the gyros -- I found it adequate but not outstanding. But the pork belly BLT with tomato confit is delicious. Love the merguez corn dog. They do $7 foie gras on Mondays -- I've had a seared version with grape must that was outstanding.

Tuesday is steak night with half-priced steaks. The hangar steak was insanely good (although the mashed potatoes and spinach were forgettable) and a huge bargain at $9.

For price-quality ratio this is one of the best place in town.

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An update: I just learned that the pork belly BLT, one of my favorite dishes, is no longer available. The pork belly has been replaced with applewood smoked bacon, apparently because too many people were sending it back complaining that it was too fatty.

WTF, cretins.

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