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The Gossiping Gourmet: First courses are best at Lark Creek

September 25, 2013|By Terry Markowitz
  • The barbecue chicken tamale pancake with avocado salsa and tortilla strips at Lark Creek.
The barbecue chicken tamale pancake with avocado salsa… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

For many years, whenever my husband and I were in San Francisco visiting friends, we always loved to drive up to Larkspur for lunch or dinner at Bradley Ogden's Lark Creek Inn.

So we have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Lark Creek in Fashion Island. The owners have done a beautiful job of remodeling the old Daily Grill space, adding a large outdoor patio and lounge and updating the interior with a very contemporary feel: dark taupe walls, lots of wood, oversized light fixtures and a beautiful mosaic tile wall at the rear.

The atmosphere is sophisticated and casual at the same time. In keeping with what seems to be the trend these days, the room is quite noisy.

Both of our appetizers were very good. A plate of creamy, warm mozzarella was surrounded by chunks of heirloom and cherry tomatoes. The red and yellow cherry tomatoes were as sweet as candy, and the heirlooms were wonderful.

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These were the best, most flavorful tomatoes we have eaten all season. They were lightly dressed with an aged sherry vinaigrette, making for a lovely pairing of flavors and textures.

We were intrigued by the barbecued chicken tamale pancake, which turned out to be as innovative as it sounded. On the bottom was a pancake made of seasoned corn meal with kernels of whole corn. Next came pieces of chicken in sweet barbecue sauce topped with avocado salsa and, finally, skinny strips of crispy tortilla.

A sprinkling of cilantro garnished the dish. Each bite was a little different and each was delicious: salty, spicy, savory and sweet.

We were less impressed with the entrees, in particular the head-on gulf prawns ala plancha, which means "grilled on a metal plate." These were big prawns whose heads had been unattached but then placed back on. The crustaceans were in the shell, and the shells had been seasoned with a spice rub.

However, the prawns were rather tasteless, and the rub on the shell was so spicy that it overwhelmed any flavor that the prawns might have had. The best part of the entrée was the bed of vegetables on which they rested. Roasted corn, poblano chilies, cubed zucchini and basil all made up a tasty hash that was dressed with roasted tomato vinaigrette.

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