The Good Fork first opened in 2006, and for some 14 years chef Souhi Kim and her husband and co-owner Ben Schneider had been feeding their Red Hook neighbors Korean-infused farm-to-table fare in a convivial environment.
As was true of all Red Hook establishments back then, there was a locals only vibe here at the start, but Kim’s cooking was exciting enough that the Good Fork soon became a destination restaurant as well as a neighborhood hang. Other high-profile openings followed for the couple and their partners, including the self-proclaimed “fun time place” Insa in Gowanus, and the much-heralded resurrection of Gage and Tollner in Downtown Brooklyn.
Then came Covid. Kim and Schneider closed The Good Fork in March of 2020, and other than hosting a few pop-ups, and even with their enviable amount of outdoor seating in the back garden, the restaurant had basically remained shuttered throughout the pandemic.
Plenty of seating in the back garden (Scott Lynch)
Until last week. The Good Fork has finally emerged with an entirely new menu, a couple of new partners — head chef Dan Clawson, and bartender Barry O’Meara who, if you drink in Red Hook, you’ll recognize from his Bait & Tackle days — and a one-word addition to its name.
“It feels wonderful,” Kim tells Brooklyn Magazine. “The Good Fork was our first baby, the first project for my husband and I, so we just knew that it had to come back in a way that was special.”
The Good Fork Pub menu is tight but packed with bangers. Meat eaters will be drawn to Kim’s “Korean (By Way of Philly) Cheesesteak,” and they should trust their instinct. This is a glorious sandwich, a juicy, messy beast packed with gochujang short rib, melted American cheese, and kimchi mayo, all on a soft hero roll with a few pickley things on the side adding a welcome hit of acid.
Korean (by way of Philly) cheesesteak sandwich, $19 (Scott Lynch)
You can get an entire order of those pickled vegetables as a starter, or to munch on while you sip on a beer or three. There are also soy and beet pickled seven-minute eggs available, an Early Girl farm salad with buttered almonds and green goddess dressing, and a vegetable plate with beets, blueberries, and ricotta. The only burger is of the veggie variety.
If animals are more (or also) your thing, the fried chicken sandwich made with thigh meat has its appeal, as does the fish and chips, made from monkfish: Instead of proper English chips, you get a pile of thin, greasy veggie fries with vegemite aioli.
Veggie fritters with vegemite aioli, $12 (Scott Lynch)
The Pub’s lively kimchi beer cheese with fried wontons offers an additional chips-and-dip adventure.
Kimchi beer cheese with fried wontons, $8 (Scott Lynch)
For dessert, Steve’s key lime pie is the sole OG Good Fork holdover, and chef Clawson’s rich, buttery, and not-too-sweet chocolate pie makes for a worthy addition. Kim told us that more dishes, both sweet and savory, will be added to the menu in the coming weeks and months, including some old favorites on special nights.
Chocolate pie, $9 (Scott Lynch)
More changes: the physical bar at the Good Fork Pub now fills the entire front room, though the back dining area (a.k.a. “the porch”) and the two outdoor patios remain the same as in pre-pandemic times. And logistically, ordering and paying via QR code is now the default, with servers bringing your food and drinks prompted only by your smartphone. As befits this more casual pub era, no reservations are accepted.
A new, longer bar takes up the entire front room (Scott Lynch)
“The Good Fork as a tavern, or public house, where the neighborhood can just walk in… because we are long-time residents of our community, we knew that that’s what people wanted,” says Kim. “It’s been a long journey, but we’re all very happy that it’s back.”
The Good Fork Pub is located at 391 Van Brunt Street, between Coffey and Van Dyke Streets, and is currently open on Tuesday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 12:000 midnight, and on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 noon to midnight (718-643-6636).