Birthday Dinner at The Cork Restaurant in Westmont, NJ

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May 12, 2009 by MrBlueSkies

Cork_Logo

Yesterday was my 49th birthday. Heather asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I requested really good outside trashcans, iTunes gift card, and dinner at
Cork Restaurant in Westmont, NJ. To my delight, I received everything I asked for and the best part was having dinner at Cork with Heather and Aaron.

Picture 003Cork is our favorite restaurant. Heather and Aaron are there all the time and I go quite regularly myself. We are amazed that we live so close to such a top-notch restaurant. Philly, and it’s array of wonderful dining establishments, is just 10 minutes from our home and Cork can stand up there with the best of them, without the hassles of bridge tolls and parking…

saeChef Sae An has created quite an exciting dining experience full of textures and flavors that delight the senses and intrigue your palate. From the extensive wine list and beer selections to side dishes like jalapeno cheddar grits and entrees like Bison Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and goat cheese creamed kale (one of Aaron’s favorite meals), everything is presented with stylish subtly.

I’ve had the pleasure to talk with Chef An several times. He even sat with us at the bar during Cinco de Mayo, sharing a few drinks and chatting with us as we closed the place. (Bartender Cindy is a mixologist extraordinaire and a sweetie-pie to boot.) We had a great time talking about his family’s dry cleaning business, casinos, and his upcoming trip to Los Angeles. (He returned in time to cook my birthday dinner and tell us about his trip.) Chef An is an amazing talent in the kitchen yet I challenge you to find a more down-to-earth, friendly, and all around nice guy.

Our favorite server, Marissa. My sincere apologies if I spelled your name wrong. I really should bring a pad and pen when I do my restaurant reviews.

Our favorite server, Marissa. What a smile!

Well I think it’s time to tell you about the meal before I risk sounding like a 12 year old schoolgirl with her first crush. Too late. Anyway, Heather wanted to go all out and boy, did we ever. The first treat of the night was discovering that our favorite waitress, Marissa, would be serving us. Marissa is one of those rare servers who is genuinely friendly, knows the food and drink, and always provides the right amount of attention. Heather and I have both waited on tables and we know the difference between “I actually like you” and “I’m nice to you because your in my station and I want you to tip me well.” Thank you, Marissa, for making my birthday that much more special

Picture 002

We started off with Ginger Mint Lemonades consisting of Absolut Citron, house-made ginger syrup, h20, lemon, and mint leaves. Zesty and refreshing, this original Cork cocktail (featured in the 2006 Food & Wine Cocktails) made for a perfect start to the evening.

Cork AppWe also ordered two appetizers, Beef Short Ribs and Beef Negimaki. The braised-to-utter-tenderness ribs are served upon a bed of Jalapeno Cheddar Grits and have been a longtime favorite of Heather and Aaron. Heather insisted we order the Beef Negimaki which was featured during Cork’s recent Wine Tasting event. Beef Negimaki is 4 asparagus spears wrapped in Beef Tenderloin that has been marinated in Chef An’s homemade soy sauce and then seared in a hot pan. Chef An stopped by the table and informed us that the Beef Negimaki recipe is up for the South Jersey’s Top Chef Award over at South Jersey Magazine. To check it out and vote for this truly amazing appetizer, click here.

Rather than describe everything we had, take a look at the images below. I don’t have pictures of every dish because my camera was giving me a hard time as the evening progressed and refused to work for a short period when the main meal was served. I was able to snap a picture of my surf & turf before the camera died and it sort of resurrected itself when the deserts came out. Please forgive my shaky hand on some of the pictures as I had inadvertently turned off the anti-shake feature on my camera.

Cheese plate to-die-for.

Cheese plate to-die-for.

Crispy pork belly with an amazing risotto side.

Crispy pork belly with an amazing risotto side.

Lobster with Arugula Shooter. Truly amazing.

Lobster with Arugula Shooter. Truly amazing.

Miso Glazed Prawns. And yes, I really did suck its little head.

Miso Glazed Prawn. And yes, I really did suck its little head.

The BEST Miso Soup ever! Period.

The BEST Miso Soup ever! Period.

The $95 bottle of wine that was half-priced because ALL bottles of wine are half-priced on Mondays!

The $95 bottle of wine that was half-priced because ALL bottles of wine are half-priced on Mondays!

Surf & Turf:  10 oz NY Strip, half chilled lobster, asparagus, and roasted potato salad all for $30.  (My camera is dying)

Surf & Turf: 10 oz NY Strip, half chilled lobster, asparagus, and roasted potato salad all for $30. (My camera is dying)

The "other" side of my dish. Look at that luscious claw!

The "other" side of my dish. Look at that luscious claw!

Fresh local berries baked in a buttery shortbread crust accented with vanilla bean ice cream.

Fresh local berries baked in a buttery shortbread crust accented with vanilla bean ice cream.

Chocolate flourless cake with birthday sparkler. This dense, fudge-like cake is best eaten with a good, strong cup of java.

Chocolate flourless cake with birthday sparkler. This dense, fudge-like cake is best eaten with a good, strong cup of java.

Heather ordered the NY Strip entree which was the exact same meal as mine sans the lobster. Both steaks were cooked to perfection and the roasted potato salad added the right touch of summer to the dish. Aaron ordered the Chicken Waterzooi, a fork tender braised chicken breast with diced root vegetables in a Belgian beer cream reduction. Almost boarding on soup-like, we had to request a spoon in order to stop Aaron from picking up the bowl to drink down the sauce. It was that good.

Considering the quality of food and the high level of service, Cork’s menu prices are pretty reasonable. Appetizers range from $6.50 to $13.00 and entrees start at $17.00 (for the Pasta Cavatelli) and up. So stop wasting your time traveling to Philadelphia, fighting the crowds and paying exorbortent prices for parking. Stay in NJ and enjoy haute cuisine at it’s finest right at Cork Restaurant in Westmont.

Cork is located at 90 Haddon Avenue in Westmont, NJ. Visit them at www.corknj.com. Visit Opentable to make reservations or call them at 856-833-9800.
Cork on Urbanspoon

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12 thoughts on “Birthday Dinner at The Cork Restaurant in Westmont, NJ

  1. Steven says:

    Happy Birthday!

  2. meghan says:

    First, why didn’t you tell any of us, over here in the CS world, that Monday was your bday!!!!!! Hello, we would have had cake…any excuse for cake.
    I really need to go to Cork. Considering it’s 5 minutes from my door. And now seeing all that delish food you put up makes me more hungry & the vending machine in the cafe just won’t do! LOL
    Cork is on my must eat places list!!!

    • mrblueskies says:

      Meghan, you won’t be disappointed. You should check out their website because they have lots of happy hour specials, too.

    • mrblueskies says:

      Hey, it’s never too late for cake! And shame on you for not trying Cork. Go soon. You’ll love it!

  3. Jaina says:

    Happy belated Birthday!!! Looks like you had a delicious day. 🙂

  4. catt says:

    Glad you got everything on your Birthday list.. That doesn’t happen that often.. It will be “A Day to Remember”..

    • mrblueskies says:

      It sure was! And thank you for my card and lottery tickets. I didn’t win but
      it sure was fun scratching off the numbers to see if I did. 🙂
      Pres
      Check out my blog at http://www.meandtheblueskies.com

      “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary
      act.”
      – George Orwell

  5. brandy says:

    Happy Belated birthday! What a way to celebrate…everything looks delicious. Well except the lobster but I don’t like any seafood.

    • mrblueskies says:

      You and my daughter both hate seafood. She tried to eat half of a prawn and
      almost got sick!
      Preston
      Check out my blog at http://www.meandtheblueskies.com

      “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary
      act.”
      – George Orwell

  6. […] service at Casona. In fact, I would put Collin in the same level as my all time favorite server, Marissa from Cork. He was that good. Throughout the evening, Linda noted that the whole staff seemed more attentive […]

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