Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Tiny Fork: Big On Flavor…But No Desserts!

By: Anne M. Raso

I recently visited The Tiny Fork on the Lower East Side. The first thing you notice outside the medium-sized corner restaurant is a big red neon sign that says “RAW BAR”—and indeed that is what many flock to this hip eatery (formerly The Slipper Room) to get! You can be very loose when ordering from the raw bar and just say to the waitperson, “Give me three East oysters, three West oysters and a couple of clams” and they will gladly do it for you. You can even see a photo of such an order here. Seafood is so fresh that it tastes like it came out of the ocean five minutes ago, and prices are pretty standard as far as NYC raw bars –oysters are $2.50 to $3 each and clams are $1.50. In case you are curious, the catch from the east is mainly from RI, MA and Canada, while the West catch is from CA, WA and Vancouver, BC.
Tiny Fork Atmosphere

We started out by having two wonderful cocktails—the Blue Point ($12) made of Tito’s Vodka, white port, Blueberry Shrub, ginger beer and lemon juice. It was super fruity and refreshing and hard to drink just one. Eve’s Hot Apple Cider ($13) is the perfect autumn weather drink, and can be served in “virgin” style, which is just as tasty. It consists of fresh apple cider, cinnamon, cloves, lemon and Bulleit Bourbon.
Mac and Cheese Bars
There are no real entrees on the menu—just a raw bar list and another generic section that simple says FOOD. My dining companion Gail and I first shared the Mac And Cheese Bars ($9), which are two ice-cream sandwich sized bars made of aged white cheddar Grano Padana, Gouda, sautéed onions and elbow macaroni. They were indescribably creamy and covered in golden deep fried panko crumbs. Then we decided to also try the much-praised Fish Tacos ($11) served at The Tiny Fork, which are made of grilled Pollack topped with pickled onions and corn salsa on a white soft shell taco. My dining companion declared these to be the best fish tacos she has ever eaten and loved the way the pickled onions and corn salsa seemed to have a naturally lemon taste so that you did not need to add a squeeze of lemon!
Lobster Sliders
The Lobster Sliders ($19) are made with a full lobster, slathered with mayo and chives, and then placed on freshly toasted and buttered brioche rolls. Of course, the sliders have a huge side of waffle fries that no one can finish and are utterly “frie-tastic.” (By the way, you get three in an order with both the Lobster Sliders and Fish Tacos.) The Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($11) is a tender six-ounce breast served with Caesar dressing, lettuce and pineapple salsa on a brioche bun.
Corn on the Cob
Great sides we tried include Corn On The Cob done Mexican style—rolled in mayo and then dusted in grated cheese and chili powder, then served with lime ($4)--and giant Waffle Fries ($4), which, as mentioned before, are served in great abundance. It looks like there are about 60 delicious golden fries in a serving! If you order an entrée that does not come with the fries, do yourself a favor and order a portion!

If you want dessert after all this (and trust me, you will be mighty full), you are out of luck. They REALLY do not serve dessert—this is the first time I have ever encountered this in Manhattan. PERIOD. I was kind of shocked but the waitperson explained, “We want our customers to fill up on the other food.” The atmosphere at Tiny Fork is much like an old-school LES eatery except that there are mainly nautical items scattered throughout the two main rooms and the basement—which is actually a hipster lounge called The Cellar. You can find fish nets on the ceilings and old fisherman’s oil lamps sitting around on shelves. It’s a fun atmosphere to eat seafood in, and is very dimly lit at night. The menu looks like it is printed on a brown paper bag, so bring a flashlight in your purse because the candlelight is not quite enough for reading the small black print, LOL!

The Tiny Fork
167 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-8469
Cuisine: Seafood and Modern American

Photos: Anne M. Raso

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