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You don't find a lot of restaurants that look like this, or taste like this. Cork Wine & Tapas in Downtown New Bedford sits in a beautifully refurbished three story building that dates back to 1838, with exposed stone walls and wooden beams. But back in the kitchen, they're not putting anything old school on the plate.
John Bentley - Cork Wine Tapas: "We're taking a modest approach to the food. We're getting great products, handling them simply, only a couple main ingredients, and we're trying to wow people."
Chris Hendricks - Cork Wine & Tapas: "It's a great place to come if you just want to grab a nice awesome glass of wine... Or if you want to come with a bunch of friends have a nice sit down meal with a few entrees it's a great place to come."
Nicole Corbett - Cork Wine & Tapas: "So if you are in favor... of sitting down to a table and having 10 different things, and each of you trying different bites... It's just nice to talk and enjoy and it's formal but it's informal and it's casual... and fun."
From the bar that was built out of wine corks to chef John Bentley's menu, everything is designed to be wine-friendly and fun to share. There are marinated steak and chicken skewers, grilled flatbread pizzas, Truffled french fries tossed with basil, thyme, and Peccorino-Romano, and local littleneck clams that are simmered and steamed with smoked bacon, and served in slow-cooked tomato sauce. But the number one seller is the Pan Seared New Bedford Scallops.
Nicole Corbett - Cork Wine & Tapas: "Almost every person that comes in this restaurant orders our pan seared scallops."
Chris Hendricks - Cork Wine & Tapas: "You can see the scallops coming right off the boat when you're looking out the window."
Nicole Corbett - Cork Wine & Tapas: "They're thick, they're almost like mini filet mignons in a way."
The perfectly seared scallops come with beautifully sauteed cremini mushrooms that are served over jasmine style rice, covered in a mouthwatering macamadia nut cream sauce, and finished with a sweet soy glaze.
Chris Hendricks - Cork Wine & Tapas: "When you bite into the scallops, they just melt away.... It's like an ice cream cone on a hot summer's day."
Meat-eaters might want to opt for the grilled flat iron steak with rosemary demi-glace, or for something a little more munchable, there's the Philly Cheesesteak Spring Rolls.
Nicole Corbett - Cork Wine & Tapas: "It's ground beef, it's got red and green peppers, melted cheddar, rolled in the egg roll and deep fried... with the onion straws on the top."
Chris Hendricks - Cork Wine & Tapas: "The Philly Cheesesteak Egg Roll has been a favorite since the day we opened 2006. It's one of the only few dishes that we've had on the menu consistently throughout the years."
Nicole Corbett - Cork Wine & Tapas: "I mean who doesn't like Philly Cheesesteak?"
John Bentley - Cork Wine Tapas: "Everybody loves them, parties love them... I love them. The dishwashers love them, the waitresses love them. It's just a little snack, it's quick, it's easy. And they're amazing."
The average dinner at Cork takes over two hours, because the food is so good, the drinks are so delicious, and the surroundings are so cool, nobody wants to leave. Most customers end their meal with the flourless chocolate cake that tastes like a combination of brownie batter and ganache. And the signature cheese platter, featuring Great Hill Blue, New York Cheddar, and New England camembert can be ordered as an appetizer or a dessert.
Nicole Corbett - Cork Wine & Tapas: "The cheese platter is really the epitome of our tapas menu."
Chris Hendricks - Cork Wine & Tapas: "The cheese plate is great because you can share it with four to six people."
"It has four different cheeses, it has three to four different fruits... And it's on a big wooden board so you're really able to pull it from any direction."
Considering how cool and current the menu is at Cork, it's almost incredible to think that this building was originally designed to warehouse equipment for the whaling industry. But 175 years later, manager Nicole Corbett thinks it's still making quite a splash.
Nicole Corbett - Cork Wine & Tapas: "I had a moment this summer. The windows were open, there was a beautiful breeze coming in.... and I just had a feeling like I'm absolutely in the right place.... I've got the best job in the world. I run the most amazing restaurant in the world. In one year I've gotten to know almost all our regulars and become very good friends with them.... to have that kind of relationship with your guests is more than just having a restaurant, it's more than just the dining experience... it's family."