Monday, February 7, 2011

III Forks - Jacksonville, FL

We aren't normally fans of chain restaurants but we wanted to get a good steak dinner on Saturday night without driving very far. Luckily for us, Nic knew of a great place right around the corner that she'd been to a few times.

Tapestry Park, a new mixed use development near the corner of Butler Blvd and Southside in Jacksonville, has all the right ingredients to be a home run. There are condos, apartments, retail shops and even a hotel all within a stone's throw from one another. It's no wonder that this location attracted a venue like III Forks to be one of the anchors.

We knew there would be a little wait when we got there at eight o'clock without a reservation but we pretended like we planned it that way by grabbing a seat at the bar and ordering a couple of glasses of wine while we waited. I ordered for both of us and started off with a glass of Kenwood Merlot for myself and ordered Nicole a glass of New Age white wine from Argentina.

I knew what I was getting with the Kenwood but I was a little taken aback when the bartender poured ice into Nic's wine and squeezed a little lime before handing it to me. Obviously able to see the shock on my face, she explained that it was served as a "Tincho" which is the way it was traditionally served in Argentina by the creator of the wine (Tincho was actually his nickname). Before handing the glass off to Nicole, I took a sip and almost kept it for myself. We're not experts by any stretch (we are signed up for two classes if we can ever get time to take them) but the light fruity notes and clean finish were great.

We lingered in the bar area for a few more minutes and something else that caught our eye and Nicole asked about a small, milky looking drink that was sitting in the queue waiting to be picked up. The bartender told us this was a "Bootlegger" and was made with heavy cream, Irish whiskey and some secret ingredients. She poured a little taste in a glass for us and explained that they were for the managers and lucky patrons might be able to get one if they played their cards right... After the taste, we were seriously hoping we were considered for one before we left. I'm not sure how to explain the drink but it was very sweet and almost like a desert in itself.

The hostess found us shortly after that and escorted us to the trophy room where we were warmly greeted by our server. She told us a little about the restaurant and handed us an iPad that contained the wine list with detailed descriptions of the full menu. I'll give them credit - this was a great idea, so often people like us don't know what to order or what will pair with our meal and this was just the ticket to help us figure out.

We ordered the Beef Croustades for an appetizer as suggested by Nicole from her previous visit. The steak was seasoned perfectly and the sauce complimented it well without being overbearing. Of course, I finished it off pretty quickly while we waited on our salads.

Having been there before, Nicole knew which salad she wanted and ordered the Wedge Salad. I was a little curious and ordered the Tomato and Onion Salad without asking about it. I was immediately questioned by Nicole and as our waitress explained that it was a halved beefsteak tomato on a spring mix with blue cheese crumbles, I knew I had gotten exactly what I wanted.

We were both in the mood for cow so we both picked out [USDA Prime] steaks quickly - she ordered the fillet and I got the strip. We ordered six cheese potatoes and sauteed spinach to finish out our entrees.

The steaks came out very quickly despite mine being medium-well. We had just finished our salad when we noticed our food coming out. Our server positioned the plates and served our sides as I picked up my fork and knife (she was pretty brave to be that close to me with a knife and a steak). We cut our steaks and they were cooked perfectly and tasted great.

We rounded out the meal with desert and ordered the creme brule. The candy crust(sorry I don't know what is called) is Nicole's favorite part and my least favorite so it turned out well and there wasn't much fighting. The taste was very smooth and not too sweet. It complimented out meal very well.

The Bootlegger had stayed on our minds the entire meal and luckily we were able to talk our server into checking to see if we could have one. Paired with the creme brule, it made a great desert drink and Nicole was sipping it very slowly trying to figure out what the special ingredients were so she could make one at home.

This was a great visit and I'd quickly recommend III Forks to anyone looking for a high quality, well cooked steak and dinner in a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Despite being a high end restaurant, III Forks goes the extra mile to make sure you are always taken care of and that you are enjoying your dining experience. You forget that they have more then one location and begin to realize that they really aren't a chain but instead a restaurant with multiple locations spread really far apart. And it's always good to come away with a new favorite wine and a full stomach.


  1. III Forks is absolutely one of my favorite places to get a steak. I've only been to the one in Dallas, but I love it. The appetizer y'all had is my favorite and the crab cakes are amazing -- I try to go whenever I'm in Dallas!

  2. This all sounds delicious! The iPad was such a great idea on their part too. I live in New England and have honestly never heard of this chain, but it looks like it would be one I'd be willing to try. Very nice review!

  3. Cute blog! The "candy crust" referred to above regarding your crème brûlée was actually a thin layer of hard caramel (ie. sugar which was sprinkled onto the custard, then caramelized under a broiler or with a butane torch). This dessert is surprisingly easy to make at home using your oven's broiler.