You would never accidentally run into Corkscrew, a fantastic Cafe in Carmel Valley Village, if you were traveling down the coast of California unless you were staying in Carmel Valley. And even then, it’s a very easy place to miss. It’s not the least bit flashy or showy. It’s just a casual cafe that want’s to hang out. It’s not begging for your attention, but will warmly welcome you if you decide to visit. I’m here, to tell you about it so you don’t roam aimlessly around life not knowing what a sweet experience could be yours.
Corkscrew is the restaurant I had the strongest connection with in all my time in California. No place is perfect, of course, and that’s why I usually try to highlight the one BEST thing I personally experience about a cafe/event/foodtruck/recipe/boxofchocolates. The thing about Corkscrew is that, so far, it wins Best All Around.
Our first visit was for dinner. As I walked in my jaw dropped to let out a loud “dammn!” It’s just not the type of place I had expected in such a small, lonely town.
The fired wood oven is front and center of the restaurant. The feelings that you should get a pizza is immediate, intense and aggressive. Luckily we were seated in the back room, away from the oven, and I was able to resister the urge.
I loved corkscrew within minutes of walking in, solely based of the set up. The back room, to the right, only featured 3 long tables, all completely separate from each other. An entire area for large parties to come and enjoy the privacy of their own restaurant! Wonderful! The other side of the restaurant houses smaller tables. The decor is uniformly rustic, but with a colorful twist. I had a sneaky feeling the food wouldn’t disappoint, thanks to the appetizing atmosphere, and I was right!
We started with the roasted garlic made up of a whole roasted garlic bulb, backed goat cheese and grilled bread. My dad, selfishly, got the mussels in a spicy sauce to start and then felt bad and let me dip my extra bread in it. The roasted garlic was absolutely perfect; one of those meals you think you can definitely recreate at home, but you can’t.. I tried, I just can’t.
Every one except me and my sister succumbed to having pizza, which was fine with me because I got to try a huge variety. [insert the thumbs up emoticon.] I ordered the wood fired whole trout, my sister got the rib eye steak, and we felt like the Kind and Queen of the night.
For dessert we shared* the Tanzanian dark chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries and whipped cream, the house made seasonal pie and the chocolate chip pecan bread pudding with brown sugar, brioche and vanilla bean caramel sauce.
When we were paying the bill we thanked our lovely waitress and detailed all the things we loved about our dishes. She, in turn, shared with us that the Cowgirl wine we were raving so much about was one of their own. And when I mentioned how much I loved EVEN the veggies on my plate, she told me it all came from the organic garden out the back. See, the menu works around seasonal and fresh produce growing out the back.
That was exactly the moment we unanimously smashed our fists on the table and decided to come back the next day for lunch and wine tastings. That was also the moment I, personally, decided I never wanted to leave.
* “sharing” is something more like eating everything as fast as you can so you get more bites than everyone else.
55 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley CA 93921