Eating at The Lark in Santa Barbara

Recently I had a chance to attend another Unconference in Santa Barbara. The Little Sister drove up with me last year and we had another epic dinner at Wine Cask. You can read about that here. The plan was to do the same this year with Library AC (no longer working at my college because she found an AWESOME job close to her house (sad for me, great for her)) of 2 Nights in the Bay Area fame and the Little Sister. When I called Wine Cask they told me they would be closed that evening for a private party. I ask the hostess for some recommendations, and of the two she mentioned, The Lark, won.

The Little Sister decided not to go at the last minute and I had invited another colleague who was attending the conference to join us for dinner when I was in San Jose. The Lark was within walking distance of where we were, and after a day of working (but good, fun, working!) Library AC, Dan, and myself walked along the Santa Barbara boardwalk to the "Funk Zone" and The Lark.

I didn't really know what to expect. The reviews on Yelp had been good, and when I called that day to see about increasing the number for our reservation, the hostess told me they were full. Our reservation was at 5pm when they opened, and the restuarant did fill up pretty quickly. I think reservations are a must! We sat outside and had Michelle as our server and Ben (one of the bartenders) as our server in training. The menu and specials sounded amazing and we decided to share everything. They started us out with some orange zest and sea salt popcorn and a few drinks.

Here is what we decided to order:

Deviled Eggs (3): crispy pancetta, jalapeno, smoked paprika, chive.
These were amazing! The hint of jalapeno at the end of the bite blended amazingly well with the creamy texture of the egg and the smoke in the paprika. If we didn't have all the other food coming, I would have ordered another.

Little Gems 'Wedge': rogue smoked blue cheese, warm chicory glazed bacon, radish, spicy pecans, fine herb vinaigrette.
Another great dish. The "fine herb vinaigrette" coated the little wedges of romaine. Radish was cut paper thin for the red color and a slight addtion of flavor. The glazed bacon and blue cheese complimented eachother so well. The flavors in this salad sang!

This dish isn't on the menu right now, so I will try to remember it the best I can. Citrus Cured Salmon: house made creme fraiche, dill herb medley, toasted brioche.
We had started eating this one before I remembered to take a picture. This is the bite I had. The creme fraiche and dill added to this plate, but the citrus was a bit lost. It was still very good, but I am not sure if I would order it again. This was one of the plates Library AC and Dan wanted. I think they are bigger salmon fans than I am because they both loved it.

Grilled Spanish Octopus: israeli couscous, guajilo chile, preserved blood orange, avocado, charred scallion, spiced peanuts.
This was one of the specials that night and the blood oranges is what sold me on it. It sounded so interesting. When the dish came out, everything was cooked perfectly (read, had the perfect texture) but the flavors did seem like they were cooperating with each other. And in hindsight, I like my seafood to not be covered in spices. Note to self.

Marinated & Grilled Hanger Steak: charred broccoli, calabrian chile, crispy shallots, mint
I am a fan of the hanger steak and have fond memories of them in Paris. This steak was cooked perfectly, and the flavors worked together. I liked the crispy shallots with the mint.

For dessert we had a Smore's Pot de Creme (sorry, no picture). Considering I had something simular in Denver the week before, I think there is a Smore's trend going on. The dessert was good, but I would order something else next time.

The three of us had a great meal at The Lark, and I only wish I could have eaten more. The menu had so many things I wanted to try. I would recommend this restaurant in a heartbeat, just make sure you have reservation. This place is popular and I am not sure if you would get a table without one.

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