Fork, a restaurant in Old City noted for its modern American cuisine, offers delicious food but is unfortunately accompanied by an incredibly stressful eating environment. The food itself is nothing short of fantastic. The brunch menu features classic American dishes with a modern twist. The flavors are rich and diverse, evidence of the many locally sourced ingredients. While everything about the food was simply magic, the energy in the restaurant itself was tense and aggravating.
One of the novelties of Fork is its open-kitchen concept. The chef is on display, reciting orders to the team as they prepare each meal respectively. Conceptually, this should be incredibly exciting and a fascinating glimpse at what really goes on in the kitchen. However, there hung in the air a sense of apprehension that was more anxiety-inducing than pleasant. The staff as a result — while incredibly prepared and on top of their game — seemed almost nervous.
There was just something about watching the stress in the kitchen (and the way the staff was arranged as a result) that evoked a certain tension, almost like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The open kitchen shed light on just how stressful the restaurant business is, which is precisely why it should not be put on display for customers to view.
To watch the kitchen was a remarkable feat, but it felt as though we, as the restaurant-goers, were seeing a bit too much. There is a drama and a tension that goes into making beautiful food, and that should be organically manifested in the safety of a closed kitchen. A kitchen should not be viewed like a museum exhibit, and it should not be a novelty used almost in performance.
A kitchen should carry an element of trust between itself and the customer; it is not necessarily to add a level of showmanship to the experience. The food and its preparation should be a performance in its own right, without the crutch of using the restaurant as its stage.