In recent months, I had seen the name a few times but only knew of one person who had actually eaten there. I don’t get to the 119th & Metcalf area often enough, but do try to venture that way to visit a worthwhile eatery. From what little I knew, Sheridan’s Unforked had a reputation for some pretty good food and, of course, I had to experience it for myself.
I guess I expected a place more along the lines of its frozen custard stores. I anticipated a 50’s-esque, sterile feeling dining room with hard white booths recycled from an older venue. You know, it’s the kinda place you imagine when you smell that extreme-freezer, overly air-conditioned aroma that flows out the window of the Sheridan’s in the dead of summer (the smell I don’t mind one bit because I know how good that custard is about to taste!). But it was completely different.
From the outside the restaurant is unassuming. In fact I nearly missed the building thinking it was part of the NTB auto store whose sign overpowered the restaurant’s. Inside, Unforked is both warm and modern. Bamboo woodtones with natural colors and fibers run throughout the dining room. Each table is adorned with a roll of recycled paper towels, a custard dessert menu and a stand-alone fork.
The menu consisted four main sections – tacos (about 10 kinds), quesadillas, burgers and sides. The “order and find a seat” set-up moved quickly and the food was out within 5-7 minutes. Served in paper-line metal baskets, the tacos and fries were quite easy on the eyes.
Not wanting them to get cold, I started with the fundido fries – golden brown french fries topped with creamy cheese and pieces of bacon. They were delicious! The basic fries reminded me of the Outback’s, but thinner. These flavorful and slightly crispy potatoes were topped with a white, smooth, rich cheese – not too much, but just enough to keep you going back for more. They are the kind of cheese fries that make you CRAVE cheese fries!
I decided to try two different tacos, the Barking Pig and the Cali. The latter was a fantastic fish taco made with roasted tilapia, pickled red cabbage and a wonderfully zesty cilantro aioli. Unlike many fish tacos, this beauty had a generous portion of protein. The balance of the soft fish and crunchy slaw was oh, so satisfying.
The Barking Pig carnitas taco didn’t perform as well. The pork was moderately tender and plentiful, but they were extremely sweet. So sugary, in fact, that I felt I had skipped ahead to dessert already. They might have been better if topped with some guacamole instead of the sparse green onion and queso fresco. But next time, I’ll just try another taco like the Citrus Chicken Crunch or the steak and chimichurri filled Conquistador.
Of course, it was the item I almost didn’t order that really blew my socks off! The Hail the Kale salad was definitely worthy of a salute. The surprisingly tender kale was tossed in a lemon olive oil dressing and topped with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. I will absolutely be ordering this again. In fact, I might go to Unforked just to have this salad. I’ve eaten a fair amount of kale in my life and this is the very best preparation I’ve ever tasted.
The custard menu on the table was very, very tempting. But my tacos were sizeable so I was full even after only eating half of them. But next time I will save room for the Vitamin Creamcicle – a shake with custard and freshly squeezed orange juice. And, not to be missed, they serve one of my Sheridan’s favorites – the Brownie Bling Pothole.
To top it off, Sheridan’s Unforked uses organic and hormone-free ingredients. And they do it quite well. In addition, if you’re not in the mood for indulging, you could easily make up a vegetarian or a low-cal meal here. I would say it’s definitely worth the drive across town for me and I look forward to making the trip again soon!
7337 West 119th Street Overland Park, KS 66213