We have been on a huge Asian cuisine kick the past several months. I just can’t get enough of the fresh and spicy flavor profiles found at places like Himitsu, Thip Khao and Maketto. So as soon as I heard about Tiger Fork opening in Blagden Alley, I couldn’t wait to go.
From the team behind Fainting Goat and the design direction of Streetsense by Edit Lab, the space is sleek, funky and sexy. Tiger Fork aims to “bring Hong Kong’s gritty, badass culinary culture to the streets of DC” and after a first glimpse of what they’re doing, I think they are certainly succeeding in that goal.
We started out with a round of drinks – a glass of Verdicchio for me and an intriguing jelly sake for Tom – as we tried to decide what not to order off the tantalizing menu. We truly wanted one of everything, but we also knew that we had to save room for dessert, so we were forced to make some tough choices.
We asked our server for a little inspiration, and took his advice to heart. We started with his first recommendation, the kowloon buns with (dairy cow) beef, ginger and black vinegar.
After watching Chef’s Table and reading up on dairy cow beef, I was happy to check this new-to-me protein off my foodie bucket list. The meat was beautiful, tender and really shined even when cloaked in a thick bun. These are a fun play on the soup dumpling – take a bite and then pour in the steaming black vinegar and revel in the messy deliciousness.
Food arrived at a very quick clip, almost too fast for the small space we occupied at the chef’s counter bar in the back of the restaurant. Luckily, we’re pretty speedy eaters and managed to keep up. Up next, a humble bowl of chili wontons filled with turkey and shrimp and topped with pickled ginger.
This vibrant bowl was appealing to the senses, but much lighter on the palate than I’d expected. We very much enjoyed the delicate wontons, but wished for more of a kick in the chili sauce.
For our vegetable dish, we couldn’t decide between the crispy sour potatoes and the pea shoots with oyster sauce, but our server again came to the rescue and recommended the shoots.
What appears to be a standard plate of wilted greens is so much more. The oyster sauce is made fresh, in house and punches up the appeal of the pea shoots with a craveable, umami-laden tang.
For a a final savory hurrah, we couldn’t pass up the beef chow foon, with brisket, bok choy and rice noodles.
While we typically try not to order two beef dishes in one meal, we couldn’t help ourselves. While not as sexy as some of the other menu items, this comforting dish was worth the cholesterol for the succulent beef and crisp bok choy.
As I said earlier, thanks to the magic of Instagram, we knew we had to save room for dessert. We eagerly ordered the already infamous bubble waffle, but were delighted to receive a complimentary order of the coconut rice cake as well.
These light bites were incredible, bursting with tropical flavors and a fun, spongy texture. I think I was a bigger fan that Tom, as I really tend to enjoy desserts that aren’t overly sweet or fussy.
The bubble waffle was definitely more up his alley. Because we were seated directly in front of the waffle makers, the mouth-watering aromas of the sweet batter tempted us throughout our meal.
The result was worth the wait, a hot waffle topped with matcha ice cream, caramel and candy straws. I feared it would look better than it tasted, but it completely lived up to its beauty. I’m not usually a big dessert person, but I can’t imagine coming to Tiger Fork and not finishing on a sweet note.
As for service, it was impeccable from start to finish, although we would have appreciated slightly slower pacing of the dishes. We were in and out in under an hour, which while efficient didn’t even allow us enough time to contemplate a second drink.
Overall, we were very impressed with our first taste of this hot, new restaurant and can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu items we’d had to hold off on ordering. Next time our sights will be set on the crispy sour potatoes, cheung fun and pork ribs.