What’s So Roaring About A Fork?

Here’s something I learned the other day: I can parallel park in downtown Austin like a monster.

Now, you must know this wasn’t a given. Up until about a week ago, I didn’t actually have a driver’s license. This wasn’t always the case mind you, I had that license the moment I turned sixteen and a half growing up in Massachusetts, and I loved it. Oh the places I drove in my 4Runner. Epic road trips and corner store drives and everywhere in-between.

Then, I went off to London and my poor license expired. Bye! Didn’t need it, so it wasn’t a big deal. After that, Chicago, where I also didn’t really need a license. The double L’s got my around just fine: That would be Lyft and the L itself.

Annnnnnnd then I moved to Texas.

Guess what? You need a license in Texas.

Oh hell yes. It’s a giant unwalkable state where driving comes as natural as breathing or eating BBQ.

And so I got it, took the written test (nailed it with 100%), took the driver’s test (almost nailed it with a 96%) and yay, driving again.

So, when I was invited down to try Roaring Fork in the middle of downtown Austin, I was excited! Only to find out, that if I was going to park on the very reasonably priced streets instead of the stupidly expensive parking garage, I was going to have to nail that parallel park.

And yes, I did it. Like a champion.

The first of many surprises for the evening, since my meal was just as delightful.

ROARING FORK

This small chain has three location in Austin and Arizona. They do a melody of meats with a wood-fire kick and everything feels cozy and nice.

Here’s what they say about themselves:

The Roaring Fork’s Wood Fired Cooking captures the spirit of bold American cuisine, creating flavors that crackle with a rugged edge. In the Old West, the best food was prepared on a simple wood fire. This same spirit, freshness and flavor are at the heart of every dish we serve. Select from lamb, chicken, beef, pork and fresh fish entrees all perfectly prepared by wood fire rotisserie, open flame grill or wood oven roasting.

Add to this our impeccable service and an atmosphere as inviting as our food, and you’ve got a dining experience you’ll come back for again and again. Roaring Fork’s ideal blend of energy and intimacy has made it a favorite for over a decade.

The space is familiar, mood-lit with lots of leather booths, white linen and a little southern down home kick like the antler chandeliers.

They’ve got an epic menu filled with all kinds of dishes, again, with a specific meat flair. It was hard not to pick everything off of it.

SO WHAT DID YOU EAT?

Let me show you. We started with a delicious basket of tiny cornbread muffins (mmm):

And moved on to our starters:

LAMB CHOP FONDUE

with White Wine Fondue, Chili Pecan Bread, Roasted Squash

MUSSELS & CHORIZO

a Bowl of Mussels Cooked with Local Chorizo, White Wine, Garlic & Toast Points

ICEBERG BLT

Iceberg, Blue Cheese, Bacon Lardons, & Ranch Dressing

TORTILLA SOUP

Rich Tortilla Broth with Rotisserie Chicken, Avocado, & Tortilla Strips

I also accidentally grabbed an ambiance shot when trying to photograph the soup so hell, let’s share that one too:

For mains:

THE ROARING FORK “BIG ASS” BURGER*

Poblano Pepper, Cheddar, Smoked Pepper Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Pickles, & French Fries

The Special of the Day: Steak Tacos!

And sides and drinks:

Frozen Margaritas!

MEXICAN STREET CORN

And finally, dessert:

SEASONAL FRUIT PIE

MEXICAN VANILLA CRÈME BRÛLÉE

Oh there we’re some standouts. That fondue dip was so cheesy and amazing with both the lamb and the giant croutons. My burger was indeed “Big Ass” and didn’t loose that perfect grilling even with the giant size, and the steak on the tacos shows why this is a steak place indeed. But the king of the meal, strangely, was the side of Mexican corn, which was some of the best I’d had in the entire city. Creamy, charred, spiced, so good. Could have eaten it forever.

WHAT ELSE DID YOU LIKE?

The service, which was unbelievably top-notch. Our waiter was friendly, funny and so attentive. We were never without anything and all our requests (like more goddam delicious cornbread) was met with a smile and taken care of immediately. Woah that was solid.

Everything here was good. And as down-home well-cooked American food sometimes recently had fallen out of favor in exchange for flashier meals, it’s good to remember that a well cooked piece of meat can really make a meal amazing.

I’m still not sure what makes a fork roar, but I am absolutely sure what makes a solid night out. Thanks Roaring Fork for proving that.

Roaring Fork is located at 701 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701. Learn more at www.roaringfork.com.

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