Cork and Slice is a household name on Long Island. Their Cedarhurst location has a great reputation and has been around for seven years now, serving up dairy fare in an elevated atmosphere.
That said, Brooklyn is a totally different animal. With tons of kosher restaurants and tough competition, it was a bold move for Cork and Slice to open their second location therewwww this year.
When I was invited to Cork and Slice, I thought it would be a good idea to visit the new one in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. Not only did I want to see what all the buzz was about, but I was curious about the difference between the two locations. And while most of the menu is exactly the same, the Brooklyn one sports sushi options that the Long Island one does not.
Instead of a regular sushi roll, I’d recommend the Spicy Tuna Crunchy Rice Roll. Not really a roll at all, this sushi appetizer consists of a handful of fried sushi rice bars topped with tuna kabayaki (a very specific preparation in which the fish is butterflied, cut into filets, skewered, marinated, and grilled). To offset the sweet marinade, there’s a thin slice of jalapeño and some spicy mayo on top. The flavor is well-received, but the star is the “crunch and mush” texture of the crispy rice bar combined with the tuna. I wish more restaurants featured something like this.
If ordering a salad to start your meal is more your speed, try the Rainbow Salad. The bed of chicories, watermelon radish, and fennel make for a brilliant array of colors. The cara cara orange slices are cut beautifully and add a sweet component, the red onion brings a bite and more color, and the roasted almonds provide a rich nutty flavor so all the bases are covered. Add to that the creamy goat cheese and the acidity of the lemon vinaigrette and you’ve got a really well-balanced salad that both tastes great and looks like it’s straight out of a food magazine. Eating it will destroy its beauty, but your taste buds will think it’s worth it.
Putting the “slice” in Cork and Slice are their pizzas, which are baked in a coal-fired pizza oven. I’d suggest you try the Funghi Pizza, a white mushroom pie. With a base of mozzarella cheese, the mushroom mixture consists of cremini, shiitake, white button, and hon shimeji varieties. The pizza is then topped with dollops of ricotta, parsley, and truffle oil. This is a great example of a classic artisanal combination and the result is wonderful. The truffle taste definitely comes through, which might be a positive for some (like myself) and a negative for others. The crust is thin and crispy and the two cheeses provide the necessary texture to make the white pie work, while not overpowering the flavors of the interesting blend of mushrooms.
Cork and Slice is open for lunch and many of their offerings are great for that time of day if you want to visit for a leisurely meal with a friend or colleague. But anybody who is looking for a quick option that’s a whole meal in one item should order the fabulous Tuna BLT. Served on pullman bread, you’re getting a grilled filet of tuna topped with a crispy slice of salmon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle mayo. This was the best thing on the menu in my opinion.
First of all, this isn’t like any other sandwich I’ve ever had. The tuna/salmon combination was interesting from both a texture and a taste perspective. The avocado brought a fatty creaminess to the table and the chipotle mayo finished everything with some heat. The pullman bread was the right type of base and the fries on the side really made this a whole meal. If you fancy yourself a sandwich connoisseur in the current anti-bread climate, the Tuna BLT is simply a must.
Back to more traditional offerings, there’s the Mac & Cheese. Every dairy place has it on the menu, every place makes it a little different. In this case, it’s rotini that’s served to you in the dish it was baked in. You’ll get that stringy cheese pull (mozzarella), that inherent cheesy base (cheddar), and a bold flavor as well (parmesan). There’s a sprinkling of gremolata (parsley, garlic, lemon zest) on top to kick it up a notch as well. You’ve probably had many versions, but it’s time to add one more to your scorecard.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a real proper fish entree, you can’t go wrong with the Grilled Branzino. Served on a bed of spiralized zucchini with roasted fingerling potatoes, the filet has a caper and herb vinaigrette on top that makes it a very well-composed plate. I’m not usually a big fan of zoodles, but the texture worked splendidly in combination with the fish. The potatoes were absolutely perfect and jived nicely with the sauce. Branzino makes many appearances in high-end places these days, but what comes with it is what makes the difference.
So whether it’s sushi (Brooklyn only), a salad, pizza, a sandwich, pasta, or fish, head over to Cork and Slice for an elegant dairy outing. They’ve got something for everyone — and that probably includes you.