In the heart of the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara, sits The Lark, an urban vibe restaurant that features some of the best food of the Central Coast. I love any restaurant that boasts amazing food and takes a local approach. Food responsibility makes everything taste better!! ; ) The Lark menus are sourced locally and food is grown responsibly. And of course, they take a seasonal food approach, so the menu is always fresh, and flavors are bursting, which is just some of the magic that results from having an ever-evolving (and season-conscious) menu. Plus, it gives me a very good reason to go back again..and again!! The photos on this post are from a particular night in the late summer, when the weather was perfect for dining outdoors. Another perk at The Lark- dining outside is uber cool, because the patio has a very relaxed vintage-yet-urban feel, and the energy is always buzzing. Highly recommend eating outside if the weather is to your liking. (And since The Lark is in Santa Barbara, the weather will pretty much always be to one’s liking.)
Duck Liver & Brioche with Ellwood strawberries, honey roasted cashews, and rhubarb jam
At The Lark, plates are designed to be shared family-style. Each platter is brought out with a serving spoon, so that everyone can dish up exactly what they want onto their own plate. I love that you are able to order a bunch of little things rather than just one entree. I am one of those people who has their eye on too many items on the menu, so being able to try everything I want warrants major points in my book. I have to be honest though, the food was so good, I really didn’t want to share!! I just wanted all the plates to myself, so I could savor every last bite. #foodhog It makes me a little sad inside when I see someone else taking a delicious bite that could have been mine. Is anyone else selfish with food like that?? I’m not like that with all food, just my favorites, or something yummmmazing, and the food here definitely fell into that category.
Kaido Scallop Crudo with watermelon, ambrosia melon, chili flake, persian cucumber granita, black sesame cracker, and red shiso
As an aside, a great way to watch your portion sizes/calorie intake is to share dishes when dining. Order a dish or two to split, and you can save yourself from potentially overeating as you might if you ordered the same dishes just for yourself.
Roasted Beets and Burrata with roasted pistachios, strawberries, hibiscus vinaigrette, mache, and watercress
Now can we talk about sauces?? Ohhhh, the sauces/dressings at The Lark are real deal drool-worthy. They could bottle them and sell them. Guaranteed they would be a hit. From the vinaigrette to the aioli, every bite was a perfect balance of flavors that complemented each dish, whether it be sweet, salty, tangy, or even spiced. A good sauce/dressing/drizzle can elevate a plate and tie it all together, and The Lark dishes have that element on lock.
Ras El Hanout Spiced Zucchini with saffron aioli, preserved meyer lemon, crispy squash blossom, and dill
I have always been a veggie lover, but not everyone is. It’s ok, we can work on that. 🙂 The “from the farm” dishes at The Lark are so impressive that they could convert anyone who is afraid to eat anything green or that grows in the ground. The textures and flavors of the beet salad were refreshing and complex, and the zucchini platter was insanely creative. I loved that they used zucchini in multiple forms (the blossoms and the fruit). Plus the spice rub on the zucchini was deliciously present yet not overpowering, and made a typically quiet vegetable (sorry, zucchini) the star of the show. I would eat anything with that spice rub on it. Not to mention, the presentation of every dish was like a work of art. Almost too pretty to eat. Emphasis on almost.
What I loved about dessert, besides the fact that it was light, clean, and the had perfect amount of sweetness, was that it was petit. Petit dessert means you can eat your cake and fit in your skinny jeans, too. Just a few bites to satisfy the sweet tooth, and off you go! The Lark is absolutely a must-dine, and is the perfect place to gather over shared plates with friends and family. The hard part is actually deciding what to order… and whether to share those crazy-good bites with everyone else.
Have you ever dined at a restaurant that serves shared plates? Are you a food hog or are you ok with sharing?? Please tell me I’m not the only one who is a stingy food share-er! Happy Monday!! Have a fabulous week!