The makeover of Fork Etc. into an edgy sharing-plate cafe with its own identity is another hit from the dynamic duo of Fork owner Ellen Yin and chef Eli Kulp. Leaving Etc.'s safer market behind, High Street's "grain-focused" menu redefines the possibilities of a casual breakfast- through-dinner concept, built on extraordinary breads and pastas and the kitchen's unique vision for everything from a Danish to a meatball sandwich. The food can be esoteric. But with a smart drink list and sharp service, the total pursuit of quality should be embraced.
Breakfast: Red Eye Danish; Hickory Town; whitefish on black bialy. Lunch: pastrami; duck meatball sandwich. Dinner: potted shrimps; dry-aged beets; mushrooms; rabbit and chestnuts; fried razor clams; striped-bass "collar"; Wagyu short rib; beet corzetti; seaweed bucatini with lobster bottarga; green-tea-smoked duck garganelli; pork shank with corn porridge (sharing special); sundae. All breads.
A small list focused on excellence. Cocktails range from classics to inventions imbued with surprises and seasonality. Spirits feature the best names (Pappy Van Winkle, Angel's Envy, Germain Robin brandy, Fernet Vallet digestive). Featured wines are from small Euro producers with less-known grapes and natural approaches (Arianna Occhipinti SP68, Pinte Poulsard de l'Ami Karl from Jura). The beer selection is slim, but features stars like Stillwater, Evil Twin, and Timothy Taylor.
A lively but still reasonable 84 decibels. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)