In a popular town like Ashland, Oregon, where sophisticated theater-goers demand good restaurants, there are plenty of great places to eat. There’s none better than light, bright Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine Restaurant, located on the first floor of the historic Ashland Springs Hotel in downtown Ashland.
The city of Ashland is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the largest regional theater in the United States. It draws throngs of theater folks from all across the U.S. and especially from food-savvy California. So there’s a strong restaurant scene in this quaint little city and Larks Restaurant holds its own with the best of them.
Larks offers a convenient location in the center of Ashland’s walkable downtown. It’s easy to dine here before or after attending one of the town’s many theater performances and simply walk to the restaurant. (Parking downtown can be a challenge, especially during the summer season. Restaurant guests may park in the Ashland Springs Hotel’s parking lot.)
The restaurant’s ambience is light and bright, with big windows overlooking the town’s main street. The rattan chairs and couch-like banquets with colorful cushions, and wood tables, long modern bar, and historic bird prints on the walls all contribute to the comfortable, soothing feel of the place.
The restaurant celebrates Southern Oregon’s farms, orchards, creameries and wineries. Its partnerships are evident on the chalkboard that lists all the local producers and the products they use. And the name? Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine Restaurant, while a mouthful, doesn’t really do justice to the food. The dishes here, while relatively simple and fresh, don’t resemble anything like what comes out of my kitchen or likely your’s. It’s much, much better.
I was seated at one of the comfy banquets; Anne in one of the rattan chairs around a good-sized table and a nice view of the street scene. Our server immediately brought us a basket of soft, chewy rosemary sour dough bread with a satisfying crisp crust. I ordered a bowl of the house seafood chowder, a nice balance of seafood and cubed potatoes and celery in a comfortingly thick broth. Anne had the Caesar salad, a delicious blend of crispy romaine, big crunchy house-made croutons, a generous amount of salty aged Parmesan all lightly bathed in a garlicky, anchovy-laced dressing. Yum!
Both of us ordered the boneless prime rib ($36) and it proved an excellent choice. It was perfectly cooked medium rare and the crust was seasoned with house Worchester. It came accompanied by watercress and potato and mushroom puree that was silky with the rich, earthy flavor of wild mushrooms adding a note of richness.
We wanted dessert, but the generous portions had filled us up. Entirely satisfied, we headed back to our hotel knowing that the next time we’re in Ashland, we’re definitely eating at Larks Restaurant again. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor