The interior feels a bit like an upscale barn, with distressed wood floors and tables that tend toward the dark side. The light, creamy walls contrast with all this dark wood and similarly-hued exposed beams, lightening up the place while keeping it warm and inviting. The color block paintings on the walls, cylindrical light fixtures with thick wood bands at the top and bottom and sheer moveable curtains that hang on tracks from the ceiling complete the space.
Times have changed and now nettles aren’t just something to avoid being scratched by… When foraged from the wilds of wherever they are just as prickly as you would expect, but apparently when cooked the prickly portion falls away and becomes entirely edible and occasionally even delicious. After hearing all of this I excited to see wild nettle soup on Lark’s menu and anxious to try it. Their version has basil fed snails and garlic and was utterly creamy, but I’m told is completely vegan with no cream in sight. Impressive.
It’s impossible to pick a favorite dish of the night, but the Bluebird Grain Farms farro with trumpet mushrooms and garlic confit comes close for me. Served in this tiny skillet, the nicely firm and perfectly seasoned farro has a dash mascarpone folded in at the last minute then garnished with paper thin strips of fried garlic.
The carpaccio of yellowtail with preserved lemons and slivers of green olives was light and citrusy and rivals my favorite escolar crudo at How to Cook a Wolf. The Mishima Ranch steak tartare with raw quail egg was magnificent, and I’m fairly certain that I took more than my fair share of this particular dish. The only aspect I didn’t love was the onion crackers, which were terrific on their own but I thought a bit too substantial to accompany the steak tartare.
Somehow after all of this, we managed to sample two desserts. The rustic rhubarb crostata was dense without being too sweet, even with the white chocolate sorbetto, with a nice bit of crunch courtesy of the almonds.
The Theo dark chocolate pave was a veritable slab of chocolate, again offset with nuts but this time in toasted pistachio form, and accompanied by a dollop of coconut sorbet and a thin crisp of cookie. I loved the different textures here, perfectly paired even if I wasn’t such a fan of the dark dessert on the dark plate.
Sometimes I visit a new restaurant and think OK, I’ve had everything on the menu I’m interested in trying. But at Lark, I’m anxious to get back and sample everything I missed, before they make a seasonal shift to a new menu. An excellent sign, I think!