Five Forks has a lovely European atmosphere. They have a lovely retail wine selection, a full bar with some of the best curated selections of artisan liquor in our city. There are plenty of tables, counter service and they can accommodate larger groups.
The waiter was charming. With his impeccable manners he brought me a glass of still water, no ice cubes and he left the covered carafe on the table.
Next, he suggested a glass of wine. Two great things about this; for every glass or bottle of wine sold, Five Forks donates a portion to a local charity. January's recipient is Noah's Ark Animal Shelter, Rockford's only no-kill shelter. The wine was Domaine Berther-Bondet Cotes du Jura "Rubis", a light and fruity red.
While I read the menu I ordered an appetizer. It was 3:30 pm and I had not eaten all day.
I liked the combination of flavors which tilted towards the savory. (it seems that everything in America is currently too bloody sweet! The only taste sensation if the six available that food is geared towards.)
Unfortunately, this salad was a little off. Yes, I am about to get nitpicky. The greens were well washed and fresh. The walnuts- good but not roasted. Generous amounts of goat cheese, which was light and
flavorful. The pickled ginger was very astringent, not full of ginger's distinctive flair or bite. The apples were crisp, freshly cut and sweet.
All of that would have worked well together if the squash were not such a disappointment. Typically when ordering a salad with chicken, beef, or even fish such as salmon, the meat would be hot from just being cooked. Juicy and flavorful,
providing a contrast to the cold greens and other salad ingredients.
Squash is the "meat" in this vegetarian salad. It was a good portion. However, the squash was cold. Cold!!! And
shriveled and insipid. I could not taste the cinnamon although it was visible on the squash. Heat would have brought forth the flavors of the squash, cinnamon and blended them with the salad. Heat would have satisfied my palate and my appetite.
Overall I would give Five Forks Restaurant three out of five stars. One of the tricks of successful restaurant meals is the ordering, and sometimes the description sounds delicious while the finished dish leaves the diner in a state of meh.
For the atmosphere, wine list, excellent wait staff and overall fresh ingredients for their menu, I would recommend you patronize the locally owned Five Forks.