Glen Ellyn, Illinois
October 26, 2005
The Lark was formed back in the 1940s in Tiffin, Iowa, about 10 miles from Iowa CIty, and for literally decades was the measuring stick of Iowa steakhouses/supper clubs. It's a casual place with a straightforward menu that may have been considered elegant at one point but became more nostalgic over the years. Besides the menu and building, most of the waitstaff appeared to have been fixtures since the original opening. Then the original burnt down in 2000, and the current location was reopened on the edge of Iowa City.
Unfortunately, it was reopened with almost the opposite of the character of the original--this place is in the corner of a Wal-Mart parking lot. It has a tiny little bar on one end that would be considered woefully insufficient at most any suburban Chili's, and a reasonably nice dining room at the other end. But if you are getting a bad sense, that is only true relative to what used to be, and I'm sure there are many who prefer the newer, more polished look.
The best part is that the menu stayed the same and is consistently above average. Nothing particularly inventive here, but I've never had a bad meal either. Steaks are the highlight, but there are a handful of seafood, pasta, and poultry entrees as well. The beef tenderloin, in two separate sizes, has long been the house specialty, and two members of our party proclaimed it outstanding. My ribeye was thick, juicy, tender, and very flavorful. Another in our party had the blackened prime rib and said it was excellent. You get the normal supper club-type sides, including a salad (at least the Maytag blue cheese, as well as the creamy garlic dressings, are homemade, and both are excellent), as well as a potato choice. All four in our party topped it off with the homemade apple pie dessert special that came with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. There are probably a dozen or so wines by the glass, and an additional list available by the bottle. Nice selection.
From journal Hawkeye Football Weekend