It was a bit of a shock to realize more than two months had passed since I had dinner at Lark. I'd been busy. Warm weather meant more cooking at home; two theater subscriptions meant more nights out (and less money to spend on food). Still, I missed the warmth of that open dining room with its banquettes on one side, booths on the other, floating curtains drifting down the middle of the room. I changed into slightly less disreputable clothes and ran down the hill for my dinner. K. was busy with two customers - they appeared to be arranging some special occasion, tasting champagnes and discussing table arrangements - so it was J., the chef and one of the owners, who seated me.
It is a warm day, so I order the chilled tomato soup and the steak tartare, and to round out my meal I add one of the specials of the day, soft-shelled crab. Far too hot outside for pasta with truffle-butter; I'll leave that for the fall, or winter. I eavesdrop on the table nearby; they are planning a wedding. Lucky them, to have their wedding dinner here. I turn back to my bread, and the raisin-nut-bread is a bit too squishy and sweet, so I turn my attention to the clean white crusty loaf, spread with butter. The soup arrives, pure tomato, cold, clear, almost floral, with a ribbon of some crisp cookie-cracker, salty-sweet. As always there is just enough, not quite enough, a taste that leaves you wanting more.
Next is the soft-shell crab, which spills its juices into a bed of candy-sweet corn with every stab of my fork, the sweet corn spiked with bacon. It is so good I eat every last kernel of corn, every bit of lardon (and honestly I thought there was a little too much bacon), and every scrap of crab shell, finally wiping the plate with my last piece of bread. Then comes the steak tartare, a tiny quail yolk floating on top of the steak, waiting to be stirred in, spread on fragile onion crackers, with a little curly frisée in one corner. There is not much to say about steak tartare, except it fills some yearning quite nicely.
Finally I order dessert, an ice-cream sandwich as a nod to the summer heat. Two chocolate-chunk cookies sandwich a slab of mint chocolate chunk ice cream, with a little cup of chocolate soda on the side. I love the cookies, but I love the chocolate soda more. I wish I had a tall glass of it, cold and sweaty in my hand. But better to have just a little, enough to leave me wanting more.