HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Corks in Federal Hill-opinions since the reinvention?

I walked in to see the new digs and picked up a menu but did not stay to eat. I was thinking of going this weekend for dinner. Has anyone tried the "new" Corks?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. I must admit, I was a bit taken aback by the sandwich heavy menu and entrees under 20-ish dollars. Part of me loved it, part of me longed to splurge on the old menu. I was told a few old-Corks style entrees will be added soon.

      While the mushroom flatbread and braised beef rib aren't reinventions of the form or worth going out of your way to experience, what they are great values, and quite tasty. But what got "wow"s from both me and my wife were the salads. For her the arugula with serrano and creme fraiche, and for me the warm frisee au lardon. Perhaps all it takes to wow me with a salad is copious amounts of pork product, but both of these were great and worth returning for.

      1. Considering completely changing the concept of the restaurant, they probably should've changed the name. Definately different from old school Corks. Big emphasis on sandwiches and light fare. More like a coffee bar menu. Apparently they are now open for lunch and dinner though the menu is the same for both. I suppose a desperate economy calls for desperate measures.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kelarry

          Do you think that they didn't want to raise the bar any higher than, say, Junior's? Is this the most 'upscale' Federal Hill can get? Casual wine bars...trendy? i loved the old Corks but hey, I won't turn my nose up at any place that serves meat, cheese and wine so I'll give it a shot and try to suppress my longing for what was.

          1. re: BaltoPhilFood

            Federal Hill can definitely do more than casual wine bars -- look at Bicycle! I'm also bummed to hear about the casual turn of Corks though. I never made it to the old Corks, I was saving it for a special occasion splurge dinner, and now it looks like I missed my chance.

            1. re: BaltoPhilFood

              Do people really go to eat at Juniors Wine bar?

          2. I just had lunch at Corks. I'll sum it up as such: the chips that came with my sandwich came out of the fryer and not a bag.

            Regardless of what it was before, this place is now a top notch bistro type of place, suitable for a nice lunch or a casual dinner. There is still the very nice wine list, and now there are reasonably priced menu items.

            I had the italian cold cut. Nice rustic crunchy baguette, top quality salumi and roasted tomatoes. Care was taken every step of the way. This is definitive still a place that "cooks" rather than simply assembling ingredients.

            They still have some entrees on the menu and they now carry specials each day that reflect the foregone white table cloth restaurant, but I for one am really excited about the new direction.

            Definitely a place to check out.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KAZ

              The newer bistros in Baltimore have definately paved the way for great food and casual atmosphere at modest pricing in the last year or so. Apparently, the folks at Corks are paying attention to these successful trends. They have much competition with the other great places already doing what they do. It should be interesting. They have a good reputation, especially with wine.

              1. re: hawaiigrl2003

                What newer bistros are you referring to?

            2. I ate lunch there yesterday. Some of you might have read my thread about how my Mom and I eat lunch together every Sat and are always looking for new places. Well let me say....this is the best lunch I've had all year, perhaps ever, in Baltimore. We started with the mesclun and grilled vegetable salad, shared 2 sandwiches (italian and gorgonzola with raddichio) and had the bread pudding for dessert. The italian sandwich was FLAWLESS. It came with a wonderful aioli and had roasted tomatoes sandwiched inbetween the meat. It had layer upon layer or flavor. She ordered chips as her side and I ordered fries and both were above average. Obviously house made and well seasoned. The gorgonzola grilled cheese is the foodies equivalant of the standard. The perfect comfort food.
              I hope this place has found a new customer base. I never would have eaten there before because it was a little pricey and the menu seemed to include lots of sweetbreads kind of stuff. I'm an adventurous eater but I do have my limits :)
              Can't wait to return!
              Oh...forgot the best part. Salad, 2 sandwiches, dessert and iced tea...$38 before tip!

              1. Corks has lots of potential and it's one of the few spots in Federal Hill to get a bite to eat after 10pm. I like the modern look and that it's more casual. We started with the South Charles Blend Fondue which was quite good. The portion size was perfect and the cheese was rich...perfect for the somewhat cold dining room. Next, partly based on our waiter's recommendation, we ordered the bison burger and fish and chips. The bison burger was extremely dry. Now, I believe bison is a less fatty meat, but there are things one can do to still have a moist burger. The fries and condiments were good. The fish came with potato chips rather than fries, and they were fine. The breading on the fish and chips was light and perfect, but the fish was cold to the touch! This was disappointing, as frying a piece of fish cannot be that difficult, and a restaurant that claims to have great fish and chips should not put out a cold product. The server took the dish away and 10 minutes later a new batch arrived that was properly cooked and good. However, this dish was somewhat one-dimensional (granted, with fried fish and chips there's not much to do), but given that this is a more upscale bistro it would be nice to have them apply their own touch to the dish.

                So, it wasn't all that we hoped, but we're willing to give it another try. The more casual atmosphere and modern look will make it more appealing than it used to be to much of the neighborhood, and hopefully our experience is not the norm.

                1. I had never been to the old Corks since it was a little too pricey for me, so was happy to see that they had rennovated and came out with a new menu. Went last night, and had:

                  Chefs Blend Fondue - was very tasty, came out perfectly, nice and hot!
                  Pork Belly BLT - I actually wanted to order the lamb gyro but they didn't get in their lamb for the day, so I ordered the BLT. It was very greasey, extremely! I would definitely not order it again, and that with a combination of fries seemed to be way too much fat / grease for me to handle!
                  Bread Pudding - we all split bread pudding which was very good! It was a unique flavor of orange and pinapple which was light and freshing taste

                  Reasonably priced wines as well. Overall the atmosphere was great, it got a bit more crowded as it got later around 9ish. Good service as well, very attentive and knowledgable about the wines.