I got off to a rough start during a recent meal at theVillage Cork
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, 1300 South Pearl Street, mostly because I was having trouble integrating myself into the feminine fold. The restaurant, full of charming knickknacks and smiling women, could sell you a lifestyle with dinner. And given that I'm not exactly girly, I felt like I was doomed to be the masculine elephant in the room, the only patron that didn't fit into the fairy tale. Of course I was wrong. Owner Lisa Lapp and her staff soon soothed my anxieties with delightful finger foods turned out by chef Samir Mohammad. The pommes frites were so good I burned my mouth inhaling the salty, oily nuggets. The beef carpaccio was seductive and silky. And my salad, a strange combination that included peaches and zucchini, was well-dressed and delicious. Coupled with a thoughtful and excellent wine list, it was enough to make my heart begin to soften. I encountered a few more bumps along the way, like the above pictured duck carnitas tacos. But when all was said and done, Lapp and Mohammad won me over completely and, somehow, made me feel like I belonged, ensuring I'll bring gaggles of women for every occasion that calls. Find out tomorrow how the Village Cork pulled it off, when the review is posted here, alongside a slide show.