Sunday, September 1, 2013

229 parks

The night we spent on the outskirts of Denali National Park, we headed to 229 Parks for dinner. Although there is not too much to do outside of Denali, and you may need to take a $40 cab ride one-way for a 2-mile trek, this dinner is actually worth the trip.


With an extensive menu focused on seasonal, extremely local, and fresh ingredients, there are more than enough options for even the pickiest of diners.

T started with the organic garden salad with a lingonberry balsamic dressing, apples, and candied pecans...

While I started with the Alaska king crab cakes, which I was very excited for! Crab is my favorite food of all time and I was excited for the freshest of the fresh of my favorite food. With hand-picked king crab meat, red pepper, onion, celery, herbs, old bay seasonings, bread crumbs, lemon, local microgreens and a lemon dill aioli.  Sadly, the cakes were far too dry and dense, with no sense of the fresh crab able to shine through. On the other hand, the lemon dill aioli was delicious, and I was able to coat the dry bits of the cakes in the deliciously bright aioli.

The big winner of the night was the tender Alaskan king crab sauteed with leeks, cayenne and fresh dill, folded into housemade lemon pasta, carrot buerre monter, and sugar snap peas. Unlike the crab cakes, the crab was unbelievably fresh, soft, and unbelievably delicious. This dish was perfectly soft, immediately melting in your mouth while bursting with a wide range of complimentary flavors. I'm still salivating about it despite the fact that it has been over a month since I was able to enjoy this dish!

T went with the only non-seafood entree on the menu: the rosemary and lemon crusted rack of lamb, served with a warm white bean gremolata and haricots verts. Although the flavors were nice, the meat was a bit dry, taking away from the whole dish.

My father went with one of his favorite dishes he's ever experienced, and he still doesn't stop mentioning it to this day: fresh wild Alaskan halibut pan seared in soy butter and served on a bed of soba noodles, a lemongrass ginger crab broth, bok choi and napa cabbage, snow peas, and topped with crisped bean thread noodles. In short, he was very proud of his choice and continued to claim that he won the best dish of the night award.

The important closer of the night was the vast and decadent dessert menu.  You are able to either choose of the mouth-watering pastries and tarts in the front of the restaurant, winking at you throughout your dinner from behind a glass, or you may choose one of the massive and delicious dishes from this long list. We went with the 229 Parks ice cream sandwich; house-made vanilla bean ice cream smooshed between two dark chocolate cookies and a dark chocolate sauce with a raspberry sauce peeking out underneath. I could eat those two dark chocolate cookies everyday, if only I had the recipe! It tasted just like a non-artificial massive oreo ice cream sandwich...also known as perfection. 

After a delicious meal in a very relaxed setting we agreed it was worth the $80 round-trip taxi, and we agreed that the fresh lightly prepared seafood dishes were the best of the night, and the dessert was not to be missed. Finally, we rolled our way out of the restaurant to rest before our big trip to Anchorage the next morning!
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1 comment:

  1. As an Alaskan who is enjoying reading this blog.... yes Park 229 restaurant is a nice hike out of town in Denali area. And worth the hike over a cab. Also know that there are several hotels to choose close to this restaurant with just a 2 mile hike to it, and we reserve near by just to go eat here. Reservations a must as they are often sold booked. Great place and so glad you also found it on your trip!