Forking it Over at La Fourchette

January 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm , by Serina Patrick


B is addicted to Groupon. She’ll buy anything that’s a good deal….golf lessons, restaurant coupons, clown suits. Once you buy it, you are obligated to use it, no matter how ridiculous it might be. But her recent purchase of a $35 food voucher at La Fourchette for a mere $17 was not ridiculous at all, so we made a reservation for Saturday night.

La Fourchette mean “the fork”, a reasonable monicker for a place that serves French inspired cuisine that one should probably eat with a fork….or does it imply something more?

The restaurant’s sterile glass exterior on busy Piedmont Avenue belies its simple yet inviting space, warmly lit and full of young and trendy diners. B arrived tout de suite and we proceeded to order a couple of glasses of inexpensive bubbly. Cheers!

We had so much catching up to do we almost forgot to look at the menu. Among the list of ten appetizers, a couple intrigued her and a couple intrigued me. I would have tried the smoked trout tart with pink lady apples, or even the foie gras despite its unfortunate au torchon preparation, especially since it was paired with roasted black mission figs and brioche, but it was the pan roasted sweetbreads that made both B and I salivate.

Served on a smudge of slightly bitter fennel puree, and slightly bitter kale, the sweetbreads were thickly sliced and perfectly accented with sweet and tart cherry confiture…a bit of each on my fork reminded me that the generous portion and overall deliciousness made it worth the hefty $16 price tag. There went half our coupon already!

B and I moved on to red wine, giving a spicy red zin a try, at $12 a glass. Our server recommended the grilled loup de mer. B often orders fish so she took his advice. It was served with leeks, crispy fingerlings, and saffron emulsion. She loved the little discs of potato. My bite was tasty but hardly memorable.

I thought momentarily about the bistro steak frites with sauce bordelaise and the grilled pork loin, but was predictably compelled to order the duck confit instead.

Two thigh and leg portions with nicely crisped skin were placed upon a generous heap of black eyed peas and leeks. I was looking forward to the leeks but the side was really just peas…and their eyes were green. It was an odd choice to pair with duck. Much like pork and foie gras, a sweet accompaniment somewhere on the plate is always a nice contrast to rich duck meat. Ironically, the veal was served with apricot puree and brocollini….probably a better match with the duck.

I rarely order chicken because, well, it’s just chicken. But La Fourchette’s roasted chicken with local okra, tomato confit, bacon, and basil puree sounds really good. Entrees ranged from a somewhat boring vegetarian plate with all the sides mentioned above for $18 to B’s loup de mer coming in at a whopping $32.

Much like the interior of the space itself, the duck was nice, just not compelling. Dessert, on the other hand, was a deliriously delicious plate of little square beignets tossed with orange blossom honey and sliced almonds with a bit of honey ice cream on the side. Crisp, light, and sticky, all at the same time.

I hate to belabor the point, but the expenditure at La Fourchette was surprisingly high, especially considering our $35 coupon. But we forked it over, with the sweet memory of the beignets and the last sips of cote de rhone softening the blow.

3133 Piedmont Road 404-748-1229

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