The Maine scallop and BBQ pork belly, with a side of corn relish and some spicy avocado emulsion, appealed to me more. Seasoned with salt and pepper, the scallop was nicely seared, although the pork belly was a little dry around the edges.

Niman Ranch pork loin, however, was a thoroughly juicy piece of meat. The lasagna that accompanied it had an intriguing composition, unlike any lasagna I've ever had before. Alligator meat added chunky texture to the bolognese sauce, while pancetta and mushrooms gave it complexity. The flavor was pleasing, but the underdone pasta and crunchy bottom of the lasagna was not.

No complaints with red wine-poached beef tenderloin — it was melt-in-your-mouth good. The comte croquette served alongside it was crisp and golden, with a creamy, gooey middle. I also enjoyed the Madagascar salt prawn, the same jaw-dropping sea creature I'd recently encountered at Roka Akor in Scottsdale. At Cork, the prawn was tempura-fried, resting on a salad of fresh bok choy, sweet snap peas, pineapple, and cantaloupe in chile-spiked papaya sauce.

Just desserts — and more — at Cork.
Jamie Peachey
Just desserts — and more — at Cork.

Location Info



4991 S. Alma School Road, Ste. 101
Sun Lakes, AZ 85248

Category: Restaurant > Contemporary

Region: Chandler


Seared foie gras: $17
Kona kampachi: $13
Colorado lamb chop: $16
Banana cream pie: $8
480-883-3773, »web link
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cork, 4991 South Alma School Road, Suite 101, Chandler

Hands down, the most memorable dish was the Colorado lamb chop, a huge, succulent chop served with the best risotto I've had in ages. Flavored with spinach-Marcona almond pesto and studded with wild mushrooms, the risotto had a heady aroma. But it was also slightly al dente, a pleasure to eat. Drizzled around the edges was a tasty reduction of lamb jus, Zinfandel, and mustard.

Decadent desserts were just as head-turning as the savory dishes. Chocolate pot de crème, topped with chipotle cream, was so velvety and thick that I could make my spoon stand in it. The one letdown was the accompanying churro in the pot de crème's menu description. When I hear "churro," I think of crispy, hot confections; this cold, hard nubbin was just a garnish, not worth a mention.

The artfully deconstructed presentation and mysterious flavors of the deceptively simple-sounding banana cream pie were so much better than what I'd anticipated. Resting on one half of the plate were banana slices and a roasted baby plantain — both bruléed — with a pinch of raw sugar crystals. A glistening line of cocoa sauce divided the square plate; on the other corner was delicate banana custard on an Oreo crust. The topping, also bruléed, was a dollop of amazing homemade marshmallow fluff. It was just sweet enough, and so creamy.

From beginning to end, dinner revealed a lot of creativity in the kitchen. Cork might still be a diamond in the rough, but imagine how much it'll shine with a little more polishing.

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My Voice Nation Help

Don't waste your time This restaurant is terrible. They describe themselves to you by saying they have smaller portions like it's a good thing to charge $15 for less food, but smaller is an understatement. They served a "Salami platter" with exactly one (1) slice of salami on it, (seriously), a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, 3 crackers, 4 slices of cheese that tastes like feet, one tblsp of jam and one of thick ranch dressing that they call mousse. All of this for the low, low price of $12. Their desserts are tiny, and the chocolate peanut butter one had a description that would make any reese's lover want it consisted of three tiny little brown crackers that tasted more like cardboard than the chocolate it was supposed to be, with several tiny dollops of some light brown paste that tasted a little like cream cheese with a dash of peanut butter thrown in. There was a chocolate cage on top which tasted good, but that wasn't worth the $6 I paid. To top it all off, the waitress was terrible and snarky.If you want good, authentic Italian food with similar prices but decent portions, try Tutti Santi. It has a great wine selection and bar, and the food is sensational.