I think you all know this, but for those of you new readers, I only write about places we have dined that we REALLY like. Oddly, or more so, sadly, we have had a string of meals in the last few months at new eateries that have been mediocre at best. We would be super excited to try a new place and I would be so excited to write about it for you all, and by the end of the meal we would be shaking our heads with disappointment. Much of it stems from the fact that we have access to such amazing produce/meat/seafood here in the Pacific Northwest and we both really like to cook, so when we dine out we really want to have food/flavors/experiences that we would not have if we stayed home and cooked. Dining, like retail, is an experience. From the moment you walk in the door the experience begins. Actually, sometimes even sooner, when you call to make your reservation. Details count. Politeness counts. Quality counts. So we decided we are going to go back to some of our ‘tried & true’ establishments…
Which takes us to Lark. From the moment I spoke with the lovely woman on the phone to book a table, to when the bill was presented at the end of spectacular dinner, I was simply blown away by the experience/the meal/everything. We have been fans of chef and owner John Sundstrom since his early days at the W in Seattle as well as when he had Lark on 12th Avenue across from Café Presse and Stumptown. He expanded and moved to the new location on 10th Avenue, not far from his former space. He works with the best ingredients and has continued to work his magic in his new home. This is the first time I have been to the new location.
I was dining with our friend, designer Marianne Simon, and we were happy as a clam by the time we departed. The long space is beautiful, with hundreds of very small lights hanging, seeming like stars in the sky. The new location has large windows that wrap around the space making it light-filled–the overall feel & look quite handsome and supremely comfortable.
Now onto this sublime meal. We started with the Paddlefish caviar on a rosti potato that was simply perfect. The potato similar to a potato pancake that was presented in a skillet toped with a large dollop of crème fraiche next to an equally generous portion of the caviar. Again, dining out should be a treat, and caviar is not something we have at home often, if ever, so having it out makes it extra special. We decided to share each dish so we were able to try more variety, which I highly recommend here, as there are so many delicious flavors going on, you just don’t want to miss out on a single one.
Wild mushrooms with garlic, shallot and butter while we chatted away telling stories and catching up while our pastas were in the works. Tajarin with fonduta and shaved black truffles sounded out of this world. Again, truffles are not something we have at home, so they always peak my interest when I see them on a menu. I have dreamt about this dish since.
One of the specials for the eve was a tagliatelle pasta with shrimp that we thought would work well next to the truffle dish. It was equally out of this world. Romanesco a la plancha with Meyer lemon, anchovy and almond was our choice to have with the pasta dishes, which ended up being pretty perfect and a happy trio. By this time my head was swirling with happiness. I am dining in a lovely space where the service is kind and the food is transcending. Isn’t this what dining out is supposed to be?
Apologies for the not great images of the plates served. I find it terribly hard to grab for my iPhone once a meal has begun, as manners and red wine generally take over. But Marianne was so kind and said it was not a problem in the least as she knew I would want to write about this sumptuous meal. Food is tough to shoot anytime, but nighttime toughest–I really wanted you all to get a little idea so I clicked away. By the time dessert arrived, I did not have it in me to take another photo. But trust me, it was sooooo good. Bartlett pear tarte tatin with Calvados caramel and salted caramel ice cream. At 8 o’clock in the morning when I am writing this, it is sounding all so good all over again.
Bottom line, Lark is a true gem.