1/9/15

Fork & Fennel . . .

This is a Chris Parks logo, right?! Dude is talented. 
I have been excited about Fork & Fennel opening since I heard it was going to open. Wichita has a wonderful food history. MANY restaurants and foods that are household names around the country started here and much of the nation's store-bought protein is at least managed and coordinated from Wichita. We have a farming culture. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

That being said MUCH of the Wichita food "scene" is either chain fare, mom and pop fare, or unfair (see what I did there?).

Fork & Fennel sits in none of these camps. It is unique for this city. The restaurant, where we ate the other night after months of hearing great things, is just warm and inviting. The ceilings are open with cool lightbulbs and drying herbs, spices, and ruffage hanging from wires. The tables are odd/mismatched, benches line the walls and these really cool looking chairs seat additional guests. There is room for probably 40 people (I have no idea the real number) and the night we were there about 20 other diners shared the space. It had a healthy, happy noise level and felt cozy.

The menu, at first, seemed overwhelming. Then I realized most of the pages were dedicated to drinks and libations (I don't partake - special lady friend had a glass of wine). The actual menu was just the right length and had a wide variety of stuff. Focused on French-ish foods that have a small, artisanal feel - nothing didn't look good.

I ruled out the pork and crustaceans right away and decided I would have a dairy meal. After chatting with our adorable, charming, and knowledgable waitress, we got a half "tear and share" baguette with four signature butters/spreads (the fig stuff made me want to call my college roommate Tom Kelly and tell him I love him (Tom's grandparents had a fig tree in the lawn (still might)) and a mozerella in onion relish/oil called "marinated mozz" with toast rounds appetizers. Both were delicious and perfectly sized and presented.

For dinner my beautiful companion enjoyed the seared scallops and pork belly (thumbing her nose at my Jewish diet) and I got the Chef's Chicken sandwich which (thumbing my own nose at my Jewish diet) had this amazing buttery, cheese, pepper, and spice spread on a perfectly grilled chicken breast.

We chatted and laughed and enjoyed each other but - mainly - we enjoyed the food. It was superb. It was maybe the best meal I've had at a restaurant in five or six years (no disrespect, Ziggy's (the best pizza in the Wichi-Wichi)). We want to go back there every day. For all the meals. And we want to rip off the marinated mozz at home.

If you want to have a special evening out with one person, a small group, or a larger one - I highly suggest you check out Fork & Fennel. It will not disappoint. And if it does - bring me what you don't eat.