It was a cold, clear, and calm day in Boystown on the day before Christmas Eve. With the holiday approaching and some travel ahead, we decided to stay in the hood and try a place we have been to several times, but never for brunch – Lark.
Setting the Scene
We arrived to the bar at noon and were warmly greeted by John, a new bartender on his first shift, and as usual, found comfortable seats at the bar. The scene was similar to the rest of the neighborhood – quiet, calm, and sparsely populated. We weren’t too surprised because of the aforementioned approaching holiday, but were happy to find that the TVs (which almost always play music videos with very loud audio) had an assortment of music videos and Sports Center. Lark’s Facebook had advertised that this brunch service would be Christmas pop inspired, so it was a nice surprise that there was a mix of music, not just terrible pop Christmas songs. The volume was also more relaxed, facilitating easy conversation.
Amenities and Accessibility
As far as we can tell, Lark does not have access for folks with mobility aids. The entrance has several steps, as does the main dining room, patio, and restrooms. Any other information from our readers would be greatly appreciated.
Food and Drink
Lark’s brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 3pm. They offer $4 mimosas or $18.50 mimosa kits, unfortunately made with J. Roget, and $5 Stoli Bloody Mary’s. The menu, which was exceptionally difficult to find on their website, offers a variety of breakfast favorites, as well as some of their dinner salads, burgers, sandwiches, and wood fired pizzas.
Becky wavered between the crab cakes benedict (one of her all-time brunch favorites) and creating some kind of breakfast pizza. The pizza, known from previous visits to the bar, won out because of its delicious and crispy crust. While she could build her own pizza, she was pleased to discover the Bernardo’s Favorite included chorizo, basted egg, roasted tomatoes, serrano peppers, homemade mozzarella, and tomato sauce, which minus the chorizo, was close to a perfect combo for brunch.
The flavors (and portion size) did not disappoint. The serrano peppers were spicy, the roasted tomatoes and sauce were rich and savory with a touch of sweetness, and the cheese was melted to perfection. The pizza was topped with two eggs, cooked in the wood-fired oven until the whites were set, and luckily one of them remained in tact to provide the velvety goodness of a runny yoke. The crust’s edges were delightfully charred and still a little chewy. The only disappointments for Becky in this experience were the presence of J. Roget in the mimosas, the lack of a brunch drink deal, and the fact that the middle of the pizza crust didn’t stand up to the crispy crunch of the edge. It was a full-sized pizza and Becky ended up taking about half of it to go.
Jodie ordered the Wild Mushroom omelette: a three egg omelette containing wild mushrooms with sautéed spinach topped with goat cheese. The dish was served with fried potatoes, toast, and a strawberry rhubarb jam. She also ordered a Bloody Mary, with extra horseradish.
The drink was served in a pint glass, with ample garnishes. Even with the extra horseradish, it wasn’t overly chunky. The spice was a welcome punch in the mouth, the mix was not overly salted, and the garnishes provided a bright pop of citrus.
The portion of the omelette was substantial, the wild mushrooms were perfect in their earthy goodness, complimented by a few sautéed onions. The cheese was definitely mozzarella, however, and not goat cheese as advertised. While I am a fan of cheeses of all kinds, the mozzarella was not the right cheese for the job. There was also a truly prodigious amount of it, so much that Jodie ended up picking out just the mushrooms toward the end of her meal. Volume does not make up for incorrect ingredients, so Jodie was a little disappointed in her selection. The shining light in the meal was the magical jam, which was tart and lightly sweet, an excellent contrast to the salty mushrooms. She wonders if they offer the jam as a mimosa ingredient.
The wood-fired pizza oven. Yum.
Their weekly specials and themed events. There’s something for everyone.
Music videos. Because they don’t play those on MTV anymore.
Games. They have a variety for multiple interests, from Connect 4 to the ever-popular Cards Against Humanity.
A warm and cozy fireplace on wintery days, and a beautiful and spacious patio for summer nights.
This may be one of the only places in the neighborhood (the second on our blog) that doesn’t offer a bottomless drink option (the transcendent Wood being the first). It was certainly the tamest brunch on record for your intrepid writers, with three drinks total between us both. The small misfires in each of our dishes were a significant disappointment to us: we know that the food can be better, because we’ve had their pizza during dinner service. It’s always the hardest as a reviewer, knowing how good the food can be, to feel the disappointment of an inferior experience. The service was impeccable, friendly, and timely, but pricing and the execution have significant room for improvement.
For these reasons, we give Lark’s brunch a 6 out of 10 mimosas. As always, we’re willing to give any restaurant another chance, but we hope for a more experienced execution, with better alignment for costs and tastes within the neighborhood.
Pro Tips – Optimize Your Experience
- Pregame for your brunch. Without a significant drink package, you may need to get festive before heading to your meal here.
- Rewards program: LKH Management recently launched a rewards app, which offers rewards for spending at any of their bars and restaurants. From our conversations with staff, it just launched this week, so they still may be working out the kinks.
- Stop by Replay next door for a beer or bourbon after your meal. Enjoy the sassy staff, excellent video games (free! except for pinball), Touch Tunes music, and many TVs showing sports, movies, and Real Housewives (that’s Jodie’s favorite). They also have ample events and drink deals during the week, a patio, and some of the best bartenders in the city. Tell them The Lesbians sent you.