I told myself I’d write about our evening at Lark’s Wild Beast dinner before November was over. I think I’ve gotten it in just under the wire. Ok, maybe not for those of you on the other coast. Somehow time seems to have taken on a whole new quality now with baby, and I have no idea where November even went. Is Christmas really just around the corner?
Trotter fritters with truffle salt
Anyway, yes, we managed to go out for our first long multi-course dinner with Ian earlier this month. We’ve found it helps to go out with baby-loving friends who are more than happy to hold him while we eat. Portable babies are a good thing. It also helps that Kelly, Michelle, Johnathan, and everyone else at Lark are more than understanding of having kids around. In fact, John’s young son Owen provided comic relief during John’s introduction of the meal, reminding his dad in a loud entire-restaurant-audible whisper of everything John forgot to mention to the dining crowd. So if you ever thought that Lark is not a kid-friendly place, consider again, any of you folks out there with babes in arms or youngsters who are willing to sit through a meal.
Lark has been hosting their Whole Beast dinner for four years now, and it has become an annual tradition that we look forward to ever since we attended their second dinner. Each year, they have a number of whole animals that they cook in as many different ways as they can, using all the different parts of the animals. The meal is composed of “waves” of courses served family style, with about four dishes in each of the four waves.
Boudin noir with barley and fried eggs
This year, they had a new twist on the event and decided to go with a “wild beast” theme. We loved this new take on the meal, where they served pheasant, squab, elk, bison, wild boar, venison, and more. The pheasant was one of my favorite dishes of the night. Before the meal started, John walked around to the tables, showing off the beautiful pheasant pie with bacon and foie gras. Served with cranberries, it was a great start to the meal.
Glazed duck feet with dried scallops, ginger and scallion
I loved the pork snout Milanese, a throwback to the first Whole Beast dinner we attended, where Morgan Brownlow contributed a similar recipe. Other highlights included wild boar prepared Polish-style with cabbage, tender charred bison heart with salsa verde, and boudin noir made with barley. Glazed duck feet were fun to eat (John encouraged everyone to eat as much as they dared, but particularly the webbing) and served with in-house dried scallops.
I think this was my favorite beast dinner yet. It was well paced (unlike previous years where diners were groaning for mercy about halfway through the meal, with waves of food still coming), and the wild game was something that I hope they continue doing in future years. Sign up for Lark’s newsletter if you’d like to get updates about next year’s dinner.
Venison civet with glazed baby vegetables