Late-night dining options are very, very sad. Wherever you are, you can always count on some diner serving up questionable eggs all night. But after a certain hour, most restaurants close down the kitchen and direct everyone to the bar. Old City's Fork is a stylish bistro that forgoes this trend, offering a reasonably priced late night menu until 1 a.m. on weekends.
Much of Fork's sophisticated dining room is occupied by the four-sided bar in the center, filled with late-nighters who know to come here for the food. After the menu switches from dinner to late-night at 11:30 p.m., tables range from Philly's fashionable young singles taking a break from their mingling at neighboring Red Sky to groups of middle-aged couples enjoying a relaxed late night dinner.
Our incredibly sweet waitress was like a breath of fresh air compared to the frustrated bartender one usually deals with at this time of night. When we inquired about one dish, she admirably admitted that no one really liked it and directed us towards some of her favorites on the late night menu, which features a slimmed down selection of both appetizers and entrees from the regular dinner-hour version.
Although the food is what sets Fork apart from its peers on Market Street at this hour, it boasts creative drink offerings and a comprehensive wine list as well. The appetizers are perfect for passing around a table and sharing. Tuna tartare is marinated in coconut and lime, served with taro chips for scooping ($11). The crispy flatbread, topped with sauteed wild mushrooms, roasted garlic, and parmigiano reggiano ($7.50) is cut into slices like an upscale pizza.
Our waitress (and new best friend) informed us that the menu changes almost daily, with a couple of entrees offered on the late-night menu each night. A grilled pork chop is accompanied by lemon molasses glaze, honey roasted sweet potatoes and garlicky sauteed broccoli rabe ($21), creating a marriage of flavors as well as colors on the plate. The sides are delicious variations on homestyle vegetables, including carrot mashed potatoes, root vegetable hash and brussels sprouts with bacon, and can be ordered separately ($3.75).
If it's past dinner hour and you're hungry for something more substantial than bar nuts, Fork proves to be an excellent solution. Their hours are also unusually accessible at other times of day, offering not only an inexpensive lunch but also a mid-day menu during that random block of time between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. when nothing seems to be open.