926 12th Ave
My brother used to be friends with this guy who was born with only one ear. Actually the “missing” ear was still there, but shriveled, as though the kid had used the Ronco food dehydrator as a pillow. One day my brother and the earless kid went to a party with my friend and me. My friend ended up smoking pot with the earless guy. Eventually my friend got so stoned that the hilarity of being in the same room with an earless dude eclipsed political correctness and he started calling the kid “Vincent van Gogh.” The rest of us laughed the shrill snorty titters that can only come out of the mouths of the sky high, but the kid with the missing ear didn't get it. Pity, because that was probably the cleverest put down that the guy would ever get about his cauliflower ear. After all, the extent of the levity he was probably used to hearing was “Hey, nice ear asshole,” or “Your ear is ugly, dude.”
Well what's all that got to do with Lark? Nothing, except that Lark is as awesome as that dude's ear is fucked up. Which means it's really fucking tasty. I was crestfallen upon my arrival at Lark because the place was packed, but they took my name and even offered to CALL MY CELLPHONE when my table became available. I've never heard of a restaurant that would do that. What could be more convenient? Only the Door-to-Door Cotton Candy Blowjob Mobile.
When our table came up I immediately sat down and started laughing at the guy next to us, who was chowing the fuck down. He kept stuffing his face and wiping up all the sauces and gravy on his plate with bread. “Why?” I wondered to myself? I would soon find out.
We started with the hearts of palm salad ($10). Hearts of palm are the inner core of a palm tree. While some people would shun the idea of eating the inside of a tree, I jumped at the chance to eat the inside of something besides your mother for a change. The salad featured thinly sliced palm hearts (which taste like artichokes), frisee, and satsuma wedges. The secret weapon was a VANILLA BEAN vinaigrette, which blew the fuck out of my mind. It was bold and innovative and left me feeling like one of those wide eyed Chinese kids you always see playing with a butterfly in commercials about “technology.”
Next up came the Muscovy Salami ($11). Muscovy is a kind of duck. Salami is a kind of awesomeness, solidified into sausage form. To paraphrase the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cups slogan, they're the two great tastes that kick so much ass together you'd let Mike Tyson molest you to taste them. The thinly sliced muscovy salami was dense, chewy, and studded inside with whole peppercorns. It was accompanied by a small ramekin of raspberry mostardo, which is just a fancy name for jam and mustard mixed together.
The bacon wrapped cod was at $18 the most expensive thing we ordered, but it was worth it, though not merely because it was wrapped in bacon, which I find is too easy. Wrapping stuff in bacon is the culinary equivalent of saying “Hitler was a bad guy.” Not a difficult position to justify. It's too easy because ANYONE can wrap ANYTHING in bacon and it will taste good. You could wrap a leper's used condom in bacon and eat it, and not only would you not puke, you'd reminisce about that meal years later. That's how powerful a tool bacon wrapping is. While the cod was creamy and succulent with a perfectly crisped corona of bacon, it wasn't the best part. No, surprisingly the highlight of the bacon wrapped cod was the SAUCE: a black truffle and celery root cream broth. The celery root gave the sauce a fresh woodsy base, while the truffle came through with that subtle organic, almost petroleum bouquet of flavor which justifies the fact that perigord truffles cost $400 a pound. The sauce was so good I soon found myself in imitation of the dude seated next to us, wiping up the sauce with first bread and then, when I ran out of bread, my fingers. I would've licked that sauce off of ANYTHING. I would've licked the sauce off of an electric fence while peeing on another nearby electric fence at the same time. That's how damn tasty it was.
The roast squab ($17) was tiny, delicate and meatier tasting than prime rib. Part of the unique pleasure of eating squab is the sensation of feeling like a giant when you hold the squab's miniscule drumstick in your hand. I guess I bellowed “Fee Fie Fo Fum” too many times because the waiter glared at me. But it was worth it. Note: squab is baby PIGEON MEAT. Who would have thought that such a tasty fellow could eventually grow up to shit on the worlds freshly washed cars?
Dessert was the malt ice cream. $8 is pricey for ice cream, but we got a pretty big scoop of it and it came adorned with a chewy caramel wafer stuck vertically into the scoop like a sail. Normally I'm not that big on ice cream but it really did taste like the inside of a malted milk ball, like Easter in a bowl.
Lark is awesome. The food is good enough to prompt men with otherwise good table manners to lick sauce off their fingers. The service is friendly and helpful without being annoying. The menu is very innovative without seeming trendy, precious or gimmicky. Perhaps best of all, Lark's management specifically prohibits people with fucked up ears from eating there. I personally guarantee that the previous sentence is completely, 100,000,000% absolutely true without a trace of falsehood. And if you believe that Lark would actually bar people with disfigured ears from eating at the restaurant, you're probably also one of those people who believe that college kids frequently wake up kidneyless in bathtubs of ice after a drunken evening with a beautiful stranger. So go fuck yourself. But before you do that, go to Lark.
Rating: 9 fuck ears out of 10.