Fork in the Road started as one of Lansing’s first food trucks, a faux wood thing aptly named Trailer Park’d. In the early days (way back in 2011), I would hunt it down for the burgers and grilled asparagus. I was tickled when the standalone restaurant was announced and eagerly arrived early to fight the lunch crowds for my Ballin’ Ass Tacos. After a few visits, I took a hiatus from Fork in the Road. It was too expensive. The portions were too small. I’m not enough of a hipster to fit in.
I went back a few Saturdays ago for breakfast. Biscuits and Gravy ($9) are one of my weaknesses and I was ready to order immediately after spotting them on the menu. My concerns about portion size seemed to have been overcome and my eyes widened at the sight of my platter of food. The biscuits were fluffy and a little bit crispy, as if they had been seared on a buttered griddle. I smeared them with pork sausage gravy and poked holes into the yolk of my fried egg, my mouth watering as I watched the yellow ooze out onto my buttery biscuit. I couldn’t finish my meal, which is saying a lot: I’ve taken a bronze medal in Olympic eating.
While my meal was gargantuan, the Fork in the Road portion size increase doesn’t seem to have extended to all the menu items. One of my companions had the Ballin’ Ass Scramble ($9.75), a plate of scrambled eggs, potatoes and spicy crumbled chorizo topped with queso fresco, cilantro and lime wedges. Tortillas come on the side for eaters to roll up their own breakfast burritos. She liked it, but the hot sauce offered to her by the waitress should have come with a warning label.
Another companion had the olive burger ($11.25), which was bigger than a slider but smaller than a Big Mac. He gobbled it up, commenting that he really liked the “very tasty” bun. (OK, it was my dad — his strengths don’t lie in food description.) For the price, it would have been nice to see a side of tater tots instead of the sparse pickled vegetables on the plate. As is stands, the tots are $5 and were cooked a little past crispy.
The boyfriend ordered the Beef Pastrami Sandwich ($11), which sounded promising considering the proffered braised cabbage and sweet onion, roasted lemon mustard and mozzarella. If the meat had been left off the sandwich it would have been an improvement — a good third of it was inedible gristle, stuff that I would have thrown away if I were making it at home.
The wait after we ordered was substantial, which was fine because I was attempting to teach my dad how to use Facebook (to no avail). If it had been a weekday lunch, however, the time crunch would have sent me into panic mode.
I returned a few weeks later for that weekday lunch with a girlfriend. She drank a Hummingbird Nectar Iced Tea (a whopping $2.50) with her olive burger. I’m not sure what was in the tea, but it tasted like flowers and honey and springtime, a welcome respite after the completely depressing weather we have been battling for months.
She liked the olive burger just as much as Dad did. While I have a serious aversion to olives, I tasted this one and was impressed with the juiciness of the meat. Again, the bun got rave reviews.
I had the Smoked Meatloaf’wich, an intimidatingly tall meatloaf sandwich on thick slices of seeded bread. The bottom piece of bread was slathered with a thick layer of mashed potatoes, which was a nice thought but didn’t hold together very well. I was happy I’d covered my lap with more than one napkin. The meatloaf itself was tomatoey, but unremarkable. Thick chunks of cheddar cheese made holding the sandwich difficult and overpowered the taste of the meatloaf and the red onion marmalade.
A gourmet diner is a great idea, but I think the typical Lansing eater might be better situated and more inclined to pay actual diner prices, at least when they’re getting boutique-sized food.