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Parka: If this how hip people eat, I'm in
OK, not really. But last week I went and hung out for a bit where the hip people are these days: Parka.
I hardly ever get to the hip new places right after they open and everyone's still talking about them. That's partly deliberate. Restaurants aren't always at their very best when they first open; they have bugs to work out (hopefully not literal bugs) with the cooking, or service, or both. But the opportunity presented itself, and so there I was. Your Suburban Matron loves you, readers, and gladly risks humiliation to report back to you.
Fortunately there was no humiliation. If any of the staff felt that fuddy-duddies like me shouldn't be allowed through the door, they kept that well-hidden and were gracious and friendly.
And then there was this:
I know it doesn't look like much. But just the day before visiting, I read about Gray Duck Chai on Heavy Table, and lo and behold, Parka serves it. Best chai I've ever had. I don't often order it, because it can be sweeter than I like my coffee/tea drinks to be. Not this one. It had a definite flavorful spiciness to it that makes me really hope they meet their goal of having this available for home consumption by the end of the year.
There was also this.
Ham and pickle tots. The brown sauce is a truffle sauce; the green dots are pickle gel. The white stuff? "Cream cheese whiz"--or, as near as I can tell, cream cheese whipped to the fluffy light consistency of whipped cream. Oh my. This is a very nice plate.
I had the meatloaf sandwich, and it was delightful, with a tomato-bacon relish, cheddar, and those fries--oh, those fries! Perfect. Crispy on the outside, melting inside, and that white powder? Duck fat.
If this is how the hip people eat, I need to join their ranks more often.
The friend who joined me ordered the spare ribs with root beer gastrique and a vermicelli pudding. She noted that while the flavor of the ribs was really good, they were perhaps not as tender as she would have liked. Still, the leftovers went home with her.
My take-home was dessert: cherry-almond frangipane from the bakery case. (Parka is a collaboration among Victory 44, Dogwood Coffee, and Rustica Bakery, the latter of which sells a limited selection of retail baked goods on the premises.) I loved this. It wasn't overly sweet, which I like in a baked good, but really focused on the cherry and almond flavors. If I'd had some whipping cream at home, it might have been nice to whip it and garnish the frangipane. But it was tasty without.
So: good food, uncondescending and friendly service. I'm in.
4021 E. Lake St.