Wild Beast

November 30th, 2009 by Dawn

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
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
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
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
Venison civet with glazed baby vegetables

5 Responses to “Wild Beast”

  1. Michael says:

    I thought the Venison was awesome, and I loved the Boudin Noir! This was truly a fun event , and the fact that Lark lets you bring your own wine, really adds to the fun. All the wines we had that night were great, with the Owen Roe really delivering as my favorite!

  2. Lorna says:

    Oh my, that looks fab!

  3. Dawn says:

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention how much fun it is to trade wine with your tablemates at this event. No corkage makes for a lot of yummy wines.

  4. Eric Vigesaa says:

    For me the boar shoulder & rib bigos was the star. Was described as a Polish style choucroute. Loved the hearty flavors – maybe my favorite wild boar dish to date. Also 2nd the comments on the boudin noir. Great stuff.

    The no corkage and large party was a great excuse to bring along some great wines. Definitely enhanced the event.

  5. Roxanne says:

    I was just telling someone the other day that when I see a duck, goose, or a cute lamb, I salivate and think about dinner. I love the picture of glazed duck feet. Hoping to attend one of these feasts one of these days…

Post a Comment