Monday, February 10, 2014

Oh So Tasty: Lark on the park

interior photo provided by Lark on the park

Todd Johnson at D Magazine started off his review of Lark on the park by saying, "It seems rather small-town to boast about having an “urban experience” at any Dallas restaurant, let alone one perched on the edge of downtown. Certainly, ennui-swathed Manhattan crowds never coo over that heady feeling one gets when cars buzz by a packed street-side patio as glowing skyscrapers set an enchanted backdrop. No, citizens of world-class cities rarely coo." Well, get ready, Todd, because I am about to start coo'ing.

Owner Shannon Wynne has created some of this city's most iconic dining and drinking establishments, like Fast and Cool, Rio Room, 8.0, Flying Saucer, Meddlesome Moth and Flying Fish. His latest creation is Lark on the park, is a gem of an urban bistro that sits on the edge of Klyde Warren Park overlooking Downtown Dallas.  Although their view of the park is marred by the very existence of Savor - at least Savor is made of glass so you can look through it onto the KWP grounds. The view inside is so appealing that looking around is preferable to looking out. The spacious dining room is anchored by multiple gigantic chalkboards covered with illustrations done by local artists. Every three months these works of art are updated with a new group of artists so the look is changing continuously. I asked our waiter if they treated the chalk boards with anything to preserve the art and he said that they hadn't but it was being talked about. Between the fans blowing on them and silly patrons rubbing the works to see if they were really chalk (they ARE!) they are looking at options to keep them crisp and safe for their duration.

The menu was created by chefs Dennis Kelley and Melody Bishop. The couple came to Dallas from Suzanne Goin’s Tavern restaurant in Brentwood, California, where they learned how to scavenge for fresh, local ingredients. At Lark, mushrooms, green papaya, and lemongrass come from Tom Spicer’s FM 1410. Comeback Creek Farm provides tomatoes, peaches, and okra. Tassione Farms grows the greens. The menu is a perfect blend of hearty comfort food and upscale bistro fare and dishes are both adventurous yet familiar. We started with the Avocado and Beet Salad ($9). This is not normally a dish I would have chosen but our waited was insistent, so we gave it a go. The colors on the plate were so beautiful and the dish was light but full of flavor... but you still need to like beets to like this dish. For the main course, my companion went with the Swiss Chard & Caramelized Onion Tart made with goat cheese, fromage blanc, prosciutto di parma, fried egg ($14). It's a brunchy lunch item that appeals to me and I could have eaten two more. Not because the serving size wasn't big enough but because it was so amazingly delicious! My selection was Steak Frites, made up of grilled Akaushi skirt steak, hand-cut fries, and chimichurri ($18). While it was good, there was nothing overly special about it. I'm sure this "meat and potatoes" entree is very popular with the gentlemen. Happily, we ended on a high note with the Apple Dumpling accompanied by the all-important scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Between the artsy, airy decor, the beautiful views of Downtown Dallas, our amazing waiter (be sure to ask for Rusty - he ROCKED.) and the fresh and hearty menu selections I will definitely be back. I hope to see you there! Lark on the park is located at 2015 Woodall Rogers Fwy, Dallas, TX 75201. 214-855-5275.