To celebrate my birthday I decided to drag the extended family down to Larkspur Bistro and Bar for some relaxed upscale dining. Larkspur has been located at Douglas and Mosley for 20 years which means it was in Old Town before the Old Town revitalization ever started. Inside, the restaurant has ample seating, with trendy wood floors and nice original artwork dotting the walls. On the Friday night that we visited, a jazz combo was adding some classy background music. Even though they were playing a piano and stand-up bass the sound level was low enough that we were still able to carry on a conversation.
The menu at Larkspur is typical of most upscale restaurants in Wichita. It tries to cover all bases with salads, pastas, steaks, seafood, etc and of course they have the obligatory offering of hummus as an appetizer. I think you must get a tax break in Wichita if you offer hummus in your restaurant, because that would explain why 95% of restaurants serve it.
To kick off our meal we opted to go with a few orders of crab cakes as well as some fried calamari. While the crab cakes were nothing to get excited about, the calamari on the other hand was easily the best I have ever had and very impressive for Kansas seafood standards. Most of the time when you order calamari you get some tough and tiny pieces of squid, but not at Larkspur. We were served thick pieces of squid that were lightly breaded and delightfully moist. Served with a slightly spicy dipping sauce it was the perfect appetizer. For the main course I was wooed by the special of the day, Alaskan Halibut. Keeping with the seafood theme of the night, Steph went with the Linguini Scallops. Each entrée came with a good house salad as well as some delightfully crusty bread, that I believe was made in-house or at least tasted like it was. My Halibut came out lightly breaded with a nice side of rice and veggies. Although the fish was cooked correctly I would have liked a bit more seasoning in the breading, nonetheless it was still a good meal. Steph really liked her linguini and luckily it was large portion, so I got to sample as well. Looking beyond the small, slightly overcooked scallops the rest of the dish was wonderful. The mushrooms, pine nuts, and scallions were perfectly paired with the butter-wine sauce. I would have to say it was one of the best pasta dishes I have had in Wichita.
If you are looking for a place that serves upscale food, yet would like a relaxed atmosphere Larkspur is your place. Although most dishes run in the $15-$30 dollar range you won’t leave with an empty stomach. Unlike some fine dining establishments that serve everything a la carte, Larkspur offers plenty of food with your entrée ensuring you won’t leave wanting to hit up McDonalds.