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|April 30- May 6, 2009
• The Dessert Diva
Spicy fish wins friends with sweet salsa
by Susan M. Selasky
On a lark
Larkburger trumps the fast-food competition
by Clay Fong
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the Larkburger restaurant might feature sandwiches containing ground-up song birds or provide a cryptic allusion to the notorious Monty Python “Crunchy Frog Chocolate” sketch. Happily, neither of these assertions applies to this sparkling new eatery, which traffics in burgers of every stripe, ranging from a 1/3-pound Angus beef version to a meatless Portobello number. An appetizing turkey burger is the closest one gets here to an avian grind-up.
Positioned between a fast-food outlet and an upscale sit-down restaurant, Larkburger possesses a smart recycled blonde wood interior, giving this zero-waste restaurant a clean, Danish modern aesthetic. As friend Alan and I scanned the menu, I noted a modern approach to dining was also in evidence. For example, besides French fries, one can also order a portion of up-to-the-minute edamame. Gluten-free selections are also on offer.
Alan thoroughly enjoyed his $7.25 tuna burger, garnished with cilantro and a pungent wasabi-ginger sauce. I had sampled this sandwich on a previous visit, and I felt the sauce overwhelmed the fish’s flavor. Alan prudently requested this garnish on the side, and this made all the difference as it allowed the tuna’s taste to shine through. My friend was also quick to note the fish’s quality.
“We’re not talking chunk tuna here,” he exclaimed. “This is a tuna steak!” Details are not lost on Alan, and he also appreciated how the buttery tasting bun had been lightly toasted, in contrast to the spongy and lifeless bread that too often accompanies a mass-market burger.
I bypassed the $6.75 burger with truffle aioli, having previously found this mayonnaise also overshadowed the taste of the Angus beef. I instead opted for the $5.75 Larkburger, the basic model consisting of 1/3 pound of meat, and I also decided to spring an extra fifty cents for a slice of melted Tillamook cheddar. I came away impressed with this burger, as the truffle flavoring was no longer an overbearing distraction. The cheese was luxuriously creamy and helped underscore the meat’s steak-like taste. This medium burger still had some pink inside, which made for pleasant texture and just the right amount of juiciness.
If one truly craves the taste of truffle, skip the burger with its infused mayo and instead order up the $2.95 truffle parmesan fries. The thin-cut potatoes were limper than I prefer. But the seasonings of parsley, roughly grated hard cheese, and a sprinkling of olive oil made up for texture, elevating this fry to something worthy of a much more expensive restaurant. Alan and I also waxed enthusiastic about our “Five-Dollar Shakes” which won bonus points for both the decadent richness of main ingredient, Breyer’s ice cream, as well as the Pulp Fiction reference. As a point of order, you don’t have to spend $5 on this treat. The 24-ounce size costs $5 and we both enjoyed the more modest 16-ounce version for $3.75.
While you may spend more at Larkburger than you would at a typical fast-food joint, the accompanying increase in quality is one that you can taste. You can also certainly pay more for a burger of lesser size and quality. If the proverbial classic order of a burger (with or without meat) fries and milkshake beckon, this is a fine venue to quickly indulge that craving.
Photo: Charles Loughlin
Clay’s obscurity corner
The choir invisible
Monty Python’s Flying Circus featured a handful of memorable recurring characters such as the downtrodden Ken Shabby.
Lesser-known is the hapless Eric Praline, portrayed by the legendary John Cleese. Praline first appeared as a police inspector in the “Crunchy Frog Chocolate” sketch, setting the stage for a series of misadventures invariably involving small animals. In civilian garb, Praline sought a refund in the “Dead Parrot” sketch as his bird had sadly joined the “choir invisible.” He also attempted to procure a fish license for his pet halibut, Eric, leading to a song about his half bee, also named Eric.
2525 Arapahoe Rd., Boulder 303-444-1487
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