Philadelphia, Newsletter, North America, Pennsylvania, Restaurant Reviews, USA

Fork Restaurant

01/11/2016 by .
Fork dining Room Credit Trevor Dixon 600 587x0

I’m sitting across from owner Ellen Yin in Fork Restaurant and she’s telling me about her journey from being a healthcare professional to serious restaurateur. It is a story no different perhaps than those from other successful entrepreneurs; drive, ambition and a passion to achieve personal success. It is, you could say the embodiment of the American Dream. But with Ellen, I still feel despite her growing portfolio including High Street on Market, a.Kitchen& Bar on Rittenhouse Square  and High Street on Hudson in New York, that Fork, some twenty years old and counting, will always be her favourite.

“We were in the right place at the right time. We opened Fork restaurant in 1997 just as the neighbourhood was transitioning out from its waterfront roots. But even back then we wanted to show how seasonal farm to table fare could be delicious and cool.”

So where did this yearning to start a restaurant in Philadelphia come from I ask.

“Back when I was sixteen in New Jersey I worked for a German family who owned a restaurant called The Fromagerie, and after that when I came to college in Pennsylvania, I worked at La Terrace which was the place to be, and ever since then even though I am not a chef, I dreamt of owning my own place.”


Of course, Fork has gone through its own growing pains; from a few changes of chef to a re-invention of its food offerings.

“Fork became established and successful” Says Ellen “but each time you think you’re ahead of the game you find everyone is right behind you, so we had to adapt to stay competitive.”

Following the departure of previous Chef Terence Fury, the arrival of James Beard Foundation Finalist  Eli Kulp as Chef and co-owner lit the touch paper on Fork’s current incarnation. A direction I am looking forward to experiencing first hand as I sit perched on one of Fork’s handy bar-side chairs.


Armed with a very tasty sparkling Pinot Noir  rosé from local producer Pinnacle Ridge, I tackle a variety of dishes from the 4 course $78 dinner menu.

First up is a delightful Celery Apple soup accompanied by a pickled apple and crème fraîche followed by a very seasonal autumn salad made up of bitter greens, black walnut, pear and blue cheese.


Both are washed down I am delighted to say, by another round of that delicious local Pinot  rosé, and all is very well with the world.

Eating at the bar is a very different experience to the table. You tend to chat with the bar staff or join in with group conversations. The couple next to me are discussing the upcoming presidential election in between mouthfuls of a sharing plate of Brooke-Lee rabbit done three ways, something of a Fork speciality.


The food keeps coming, and a pasta course is next. I’m presented with a kind of deconstructed Lasagne made not with meat, but from locally sourced maitake mushrooms giving it a strong earthy flavour which partners well with the red cat cheese  and garlic scapes.

I manage to throw in a Trump comment to my fellow diners before a perfectly cooked Duroc pork dish materialises in front of me. Loin, rib and belly with summer squash and black trumpet mushrooms prove to be perfect bed fellows.


Fork is startlingly different from the usual American fine dining. It has a distinct personality and theme which it celebrates with gusto and in my opinion deserves the acclaim it has garnered over the years. It is classy yet affordable fare with an excellent wine menu too.

Stephen Starr may still be the kitchen king of Philly, but Ellen Yin and a bevy of other like-minded restaurateurs are hot on his heels. It is, I feel, just a matter of time.

All images except Wall art (c) Andy Mossack

Tell me more about Fork Restaurant in Philadelphia

Fork Restaurant  205 Market Street  Philadelphia, PA 19106

Tel +1 215-625-9425

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