Distinctive Palates: Cork Bar & Restaurant

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WILKES-BARRE – I’ve known Carolyn Saporito, General Manager of Cork Bar and Restaurant, for over 20 years. I met her when she was a bartender for River Street Jazz Café. My best gal pals from work would gather there on Friday nights and Carolyn was right there knowing what we drank and with quick, friendly service.

Twenty years later, Carolyn is certainly running one of the most exquisite restaurants in Wilkes-Barre. Cork Bar and Restaurant is owned by Rob Friedman along with Grico’s, Exeter; River Street Jazz Café, Wilkes-Barre; and The Beaumont Inn, Dallas. You will fi nd all four of these restaurants reviewed in this piece, which is a wonderful treat for our staff. No matter which one you visit, you’ll be sure to have great ambience, terrifi c meal and attentive service.

Bravo! Rob to you and your staff for making these visits so enjoyable!

Hats off!

Back to Cork

Cork is also a restaurant that took home 9 Best of the Times Leader awards in March and 9 Best of the Weekender awards for a variety of categories and Best Server, Luanne. We were so pleased that we were seated in her service area. She certainly lived up to her title. Congratulations again!

As always, the ambience at Cork is cool; a great spot in a neighborhood where you only have to go one time and the Carolyn will remember your favorite drink.

We started our evening at the comfortable bar. It’s a great place to sit for happy hour to decide if you will eat in the cozy barroom setting or step upstairs to their dining room space. Either way you’re in good hands. This visit we chose to sit at a high-top bar table.

One will note that Cork offer’s a wonderful casual fare menu of burgers and fl atbreads that you can enjoy at the bar or at the hightop seating. The burger selection is unique and sounds delicious!

Cork also specializes in martini’s and cocktails.

Carolyn made us a Grapefruit Martini with grapefruit sorbet and a Raspberry Popsicle Prosecco! They were delightful drinks after a long day at work.

Back to the Menu

Cork’s menu is extensive of appetizers, soups & salads, customer favorites, pasta and risotto, fi sh, seafood, beef, pork and chicken.

It was hard to decide. You can see from the menu that each dish is well thought out and meant to be a little different from what you might normally see. This is part of what makes this restaurant so unique.

Appetizers you say? Of course, we shall try! My guest ordered edamame dumplings. I know what dumplings are and I know what edamame is but together they are quite a delectable starting place.

First, let’s talk quantity. There were 8 large dumplings on the plate accompanied by a tasty soy sauce. The dumplings were fried to perfection, but the best part is when you take a bite and you get the combination of the fried taste with the edamame. It was delicious.

It was at that point my guest mentioned that he could have easily ordered another plate and made it dinner.

I on the other hand, ordered the Neapolitan Style Meatballs.

They were served in a San Marzano tomato sauce, garlic toast and Romano cheese. They were moist, and just the right texture without drowning in sauce like most meatballs served. Like my guest, that could have been my dinner. But no, we had to carry on trying two delicious entrees.

My guest ordered braised short ribs in a marsala sauce. The selection was a special that evening that came with mashed potatoes and carrot strips. The short ribs literally could be cut with a fork.

They were tender and moist and with the addition of the sweet marsala sauce, my guest found himself taking time to savor each bite.

The portion size was worth noting. Even the hungriest appetite would have found the portions more than generous. The mashed potatoes were plentiful, and my guest mixed in some of the sauce from the ribs. Yum!

I chose one of Cork’s traditional chicken dishes, Francaise style. I couldn’t believe the portion I was served- 2 large chicken pieces with garlic mashed potatoes and carrots and broccoli on the side. I consider myself a bit of a chicken expert and Cork’s version of Francaise is spot on. Nice layer of egg batter, with just the right amount of sauce, not overpowered by lemon flavor.

Both entrees were wonderful, but fi lling. We packed up both plates to be enjoyed at home.

Please note, I also enjoyed a great salad that consisted of spring mix, cucumbers, black olives, red onion and tomato with Cork’s house dressing. My favorite type of lettuce with just the right additions.

Desserts, ok- my guest saved some room.

The crème Brule was his choice. The sugar glaze on top was terrifi c but when you dug in with your spoon you noted that at the bottom of the bowl was a brownie. This was a great discovery!

Cork is a great place to go. Sit, relax, chat, take your time and savor whatever you choose. There are plenty of menu choices and everything is worth trying. We will return soon! Cork has outdoor seating when we fi nally get some spring weather.

Please note Cork is taking reservations for Mother’s Day! They will be open 11:30 am -6:00 pm serving their full menu plus specials.

Treat mom to this fabulous Wilkes-Barre gem.

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Cork Bar & Restaurant

463 Madison Street Wilkes-Barre • (570) 270-3818