What to Order at Cork & Pig That's Not Pizza

As Cork & Pig Tavern approaches its one-year mark in the former AF&B space, Executive Chef Felipe Armenta continues to wow patrons with a stellar menu of wood-fired pizzas, pub favorites and an outstanding selection of hickory-smoked meats.

Visitors who are familiar with AF&B will recognize many design elements that have carried over into the new space, including the retro, black-and-white tiled floors, its open kitchen and the eye-catching bar area, which remains a focal point. Cork & Pig manages to look sleek but with a warmer feel than its predecessor, however, thanks to low lighting and the candle-like glow of oversized chandeliers above the bar.

At 9 p.m. on a Thursday night, the patio is still busy, and the energy inside is relaxed yet spirited with an eclectic crowd. The hostess is friendly and accommodating, and the servers are knowledgeable about menu preparations and happy to answer questions. In fact, they are very enthusiastic about their menu, and it turns out, with good reason.

It’s hard to find any dish out of step at Cork & Pig. For starters, we try the Deviled Eggs with Pancetta ($5). The filling is a delicious combination of herby and mustardy, balanced by the smokiness of the bacon. The Crispy Calamari ($12) is delicately battered and very tender — definitely one of the better renditions of the dish I’ve tried in Fort Worth. The hot Crab & Parmesan Dip ($12), served with slices of warm, toasted bread, was rich and cheesy, but I would have loved it more with a bigger crab-forward flavor.

Cork & Pig’s wood-fired pizzas came highly recommended, but we decided to go off the beaten path. One of the all-stars of the menu is the Carolina Pork Ribs ($19). The hickory-smoked ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and slathered in a house-made, golden mustard barbecue sauce that may make you question your Texan allegiance. Pair them with a side of mac and cheese, made with eight different cheeses, or the Brussels sprouts slaw with pecans for an complete meal.

Another winner is the Panzanella Steak salad ($18). A generous portion of filet is served with house greens, grape tomatoes, red onion, peas, golden raisins and Ciabatta croutons, but what makes this salad great is the fresh burrata cheese topper and the citrusy house vinaigrette. The filet came out medium rare — as ordered — and unbelievably tender.

Perhaps the biggest surprise heavy hitter of the night was the French Dip sandwich ($17), which is made with shaved, house-smoked prime rib, Gruyere and served with a velvety au jus. The only disappointment was the Scottish Salmon ($24), which we found bland and a little on the fishy side.

To finish the evening, we tried a dense and decadent slab of Mexican Chocolate Cake ($8), which has a thick layer of chocolate-walnut icing and is served with a scoop of cinnamon and coconut-dusted vanilla ice cream. But my favorite option is the Tres Leches cake ($8), piled high with whipped cream, drizzled with dulce de leche and served with an assortment of fresh berries.

With restaurants like Pacific Table and Press Café under Chef Felipe’s belt, it isn’t surprising that Cork & Pig has become a gem in West 7th dining.

Location: 2869 Crockett St.
For Info: 817.759.9280
Hours: Mon. - Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.;  Fri. 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m. ; Sun. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
What We Liked: The patio is a little on the small side for larger groups but is dog friendly, at least when we visited.
What We Didn’t: The atmosphere is upscale and modern, but we found the EDM soundtrack a little too Dallas and out of step with the overall vibe of the restaurant.
Our Recommendations: Check out happy hour, where full-size appetizers are half price and pizzas are just $8.

| photography by Alex Lepe |