Park Kitchen: Restaurant Guide 2014

422 NW 8th Ave., 233-7275, parkkitchen.com

[FARM TO PEARL] Few summer dining experiences are as pleasant as enjoying the evening breeze on the patio at Park Kitchen, watching neighborhood kids play basketball or bocce in the North Park Blocks across the street and chatting with regulars who have been coming for the salt cod fritters for years. It's a restaurant built on relationships: Among the helpful, friendly staff, between the restaurant and local produce purveyor Your Kitchen Garden, and of course between the chef and the (very satisfied) customers. An amuse-bouche of cherry tomatoes and beans in yellow tomato vinaigrette was an outstanding simple introduction to the meal. One large plate consisted of slices of albacore tuna, resting on warm, rich crushed potatoes in a bed of peppers and tomatillo broth ($29) that was made to be sopped up with thick slices of bread from Ken's ($6). A dessert of buttermilk panna cotta ($10) was as beautiful to look at as it was to eat, with slices of peach suspended in the baked cream, held under a layer of clear gelatin and with a scattering of candied pecans for sweetness and crunch. And at happy hour from 5-6 pm, small plates are only $8 apiece—which means your own relationship with the restaurant needn't be expensive. ADRIENNE SO.

Pro tip:

The tasting menu that includes large plates is more than enough food for one person. If you're eating with company, consider ordering one tasting menu and ordering a la carte for the other.

5-9 pm daily. $$-$$$.