When my parents came up for a visit last month, they insisted on having dinner at Larks. Located in the Ashland Springs Hotel it is truly a delightful place to enjoy a scrumptious meal made with fresh local ingredients whenever possible, by a very talented kitchen staff lead by Executive Chef Damon Jones, in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere.
We had made our reservation (which are highly recommended) that morning for a party of 7 which minutes before dinner turned into a party of 8 including wheelchair and child accommodations. The staff was very patient with our last minute changes and rearranged their table placement to meet our needs.
The pre feast cocktails were delicious. Shaun is an excellent bartender and makes some really tasty and inventive creations!
Before I begin, let me start by saying that in my family we share everything, so just because you ordered it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what most of your meal will consist of.
For starters, we enjoyed the Dungeness crab & five cheese fondue with grilled rosemary bread, and the house-smoked steelhead with lemon-dill cream cheese, red onions, capers & baguette. Personally, I was partial to the crab fondue, only because I am a Dungeness crab devotee, but we all enjoyed every morsel of both dishes.
A few salads we ordered all were passed around and shared. The heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzarella, sea salt, fresh basil, balsamic & herb vinaigrette was my favorite, but for those who like arugula some preferred the organic arugula salad with shaved fennel, cherry tomatoes, crisp bacon, goat cheese, & citrus vinaigrette. My husband votes for the classic Caesar, no surprise there.
I can’t remember exactly who had what but here are the dished that still stand out in my mind some 3 weeks later, some of which I still salivate over – Panko herb-crusted filet of Alaskan halibut with Frangelico beurre blanc & tomato-cucumber quinoa salad that my mom absolutely fell in love with; the maple balsamic-glazed double-cut pork chop with apple compote & rosemary-roasted sweet potatoes (usually one of my all time favorites) but this time I had to be adventuresome and try the braised painted hills beef short ribs with sweet corn spoon bread which I adored although I must admit was decadently rich, mouthwateringly divine, and completely sinful to clean your plate, but I did and only feel slightly guilty. Grilled filet of steelhead with fresh herb vinaigrette & wild rice pilaf that my brother had was artfully presented and tasted just as good as it looked. My husband had and devoured his usual the southern fried chicken breast with mashed Yukon gold potatoes & bacon pan gravy. I don’t think other than tasting my dishes; he has ever ordered anything else.
For our wine selection we chose a Roxy Ann Claret which was smooth and delicious.
When the time came for dessert none of us could stand to do more than admire the tempting selections from afar. We did however make a pact to come back specifically for dessert because they looked and sounded so heavenly.
Our servers were very friendly, attentive but not overbearing and well informed about wine and menu selections. They were also very thoughtful and resourceful in making sure our 5 year old was taken care of as just well as the adults and I appreciate that. The skill of the management team in orchestrating such a busy restaurant while maintaining the level of attention to detail and the service standards that has been instilled into the entire staff deserves recognition as well.
In short, this is a top notch restaurant and I highly recommend it. Bon Appetite!
Larks is located in the Ashland Springs Hotel at 212 E main St. They can be reached for reservations at 541-488-5558. They are open for Brunch Saturday & Sunday from 9:00am til 2:00pm, and daily for Lunch from 11:30am till 2:00pm and Dinner from 5:00pm till 9:00pm. Café-style outside dining is enjoyed during the summer and fall.