Posted by: b44hanson | October 4, 2009

Lark – The Ying to Claim Jumpers Yang

I had, what was for me a very embarrassing moment when hosting some Costa Ricans a few years back. One of the Ticos had received a recommendation from a co-worker that a place they could not miss for a true American dining experience was Claim Jumper. Despite my reservations about going, he had his mind set on going there, so off we went to the chain restaurant. As each dish was produced and delivered to the table I sank further into my chair as the American decadence of over indulging was displayed in glorious Sysco provided plates heaping with food. Each dish could have easily have served three people as I sat an wondered how much food was actually consumed versus how much went into the dumpsters out back. If you are a Claim Jumper fan or think the best burrito you ever had was the best because it was the biggest, do not read any further.

For you people who are still reading you realize there is more to dining than quantity and you enjoy quality and creativity. For you I will share our experience at Lark, a fine dining experience in Seattle. First I will start with the fact, it ain’t cheap and if you use the Claim Jumper equation of calories to dollar, you will be sadly disappointed. But if you don’t mind a splurge and getting the kind of dining experience you would be willing to write home about, then venture forth.

Lark is a small plate restaurant in the style of a Spanish Tapas destination, although the food is more French inspired Northwestern. Since this was our maiden voyage, the waiter helped with recommendations on how to order from the eclectic menu. He recommended about 2-3 dishes per person, so being the mathematician that I am, I shot for the average of five dishes for Irena and I.

The first course was a sampling of three yummy cheeses. I can’t tell you their names since they are not listed on their online menu, which they must update regularly. I can say that they were all yummy and served with just a touch of honey to dip into for an added flavor and contrast.

Our second course was an off menu special, a Beet Salad with Walnuts and a Champagne vinaigrette. I have really been enjoying my beets lately and this dish did not disappoint! The beets were so flavorful and tender and the contrast with the walnuts was perfect.

The third course was Sauted Wild Mushrooms with Garlic, olive oil and sea salt. The mushrooms were good and flavorful and the wild earthy flavor was an interesting surprise.

The fourth course was Roasted Eel on Potatoes and Saba. The eel was delightful and much more tender then the eel we are used to getting at sushi bars. The potatoes were interesting in that they were diced into very small chunks, almost risotto sized and in a very yummy sauce.

Our last course was Fried Pork Bellies and it deserved to be the headliner dish. The pork was flavorful, tender and the contrast with the crispy and salty skin was perfect.

Irena and I have never met a dessert we didn’t like, so were ordered an Espresso Mousse/Coffee dish and a Pear Tart and washed it all down with an excellent cup of coffee.

Lark isn’t a place that sits on your weekly rotation, but when you want to step out and enjoy a really good fine dining experience I think you will find Lark fits the bill nicely!




  1. As I recall, at least one of your Ticos could have eaten everything on the menu at Claim Jumpers and would still have had room for more.

    • Yes, that would have been Nando, who we called 4×4 due to the fact there was no meal he couldn’t navigate!

  2. Your post inspired me so I hope you don’t mind my plagiarizm:

    • I am honored to even be considered as a source for your post, says grasshopper to his master! 😉

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