Red Fork Tavern's Mussels and Fries: Eat Them. Like, Soon.
Last weekend I had a mussel craving, and because cravings, for me, always seem to turn into epic eating, events I tried three different versions in two days. The Grape's mussels were traditional, clean with white wine and shallots. For brunch on Sunday I ate chorizo-scented mussels while sitting at the bar at Nosh. I love that you can watch the cooks so closely while at that bar, and I actually saw my dish prepared, bright with wine and lots of lemon juice, and finished with a big hunk of butter.
Later that same night I ended up at Red Fork Tavern. I've been checking on on them from time to time to see how Chef Ryan Carbery is handling his new assignment. Service was pretty tight compared to my last visits, but something still feels off in the space. Maybe it's the strip-mall facade, or that they haven't done enough to give the internal space to give it character. Or maybe it's the departure of Jeff Harris that continues to taint diners' perceptions of the place.
Whatever is going on with the restaurant on the whole, these mussels were by far the best I had that weekend. The mollusks were big, tender, sweet and scented with springs of thyme, and lemon lifts what is a very buttery sauce. The french fries were standout too and have been at Red Fork when I order other dishes. The potatoes, fried to a deep golden brown, sport a crisp exterior crust Carbery lightly dusts with herbs.