Lighthouse Diner - San Rafael - Marin - CA
Lighthouse Diner, Rafael Town Center, 1016 Court Street, San Rafael, CA 94901 (415) 721-7700
Date of visit, Tuesday October 19th 2004, 12.45pm
Visit the Lighthouse Website here
Since the owners of our favourite Marin local left the country, we have been aiming to expand our repertoire of places to eat lunch. First stop was the Lighthouse Diner in San Rafael. I was interested to learn from their website that they served Danish food. This sounded intriguing and so we set off to check it out.
Sitting in a newly developed stretch just off San Rafael's main Fourth Street drag, Lighthouse Diner is sandwiched between Quiznos and a Burger place. Each storefront, is equally shiny and brand new, with the same colour awnings and mini patio outside. None of them display any charming character, appealing features or particular individuality.
When you enter Lighthouse, the greeting is warm and friendly. Within a few minutes of our arrival the place was packed and later diners had to sit on high barstools at the counter or not at all. There is an all-day breakfast menu from which you can make choices, or a dedicated lunch menu.
There are fairly standard burger, salad and sandwich options available, but we chose to order from the part of the menu headed Danish Lunch Special. I was dithering between a couple of choices but when the manager told me the gravadlax was cured in house, my decision was made. Fred resisted his burger urge for a more adventurous taste of the Danish Meatballs.
Gravad Laks med Senneps Dressing $8.95
Grav Lox with Dill Mustard Dressing
The fish was vibrant, fresh, soft, not too chilled and plentiful. It had a beautiful, slight translucence. It tasted very good, but didn't have much evidence of having been marinated with a seasoned dill rub as I expected. The Dill Mustard dressing was a huge disappointment. There was absolutely no indication of it having been anywhere near mustard of any description. It was more like a thick, gloopy, sticky, overly sweet maple syrup to which chopped dill had been added. Although the flavour of the dill did come through in this horrendous sauce, it was intolerable and did nothing to enhance the credibility of the fish. A choice of toasted bread was served as a side and this would have been the perfect light lunch had they not messed up that one crucial component.
Click on picture to enlarge
Frikadeller met Kold Kartoffelsalat & surt $8.95
Danish Meatballs with Potato Salad, Beets & Marinated Cucumbers
This huge plate served as an example of quantity over quality. Three enormous, sauceless meatballs, made even the mountainous pile of unexceptional potato salad look small in comparison. A large ramekin filled with a yellowish mayonnaise mixed with diced vegetables contained an excess of sugar and didn't do anything to make the dense balls of meat taste particularly interesting. If you are not discerning of your food, are brave enough to digress slightly from a standard American menu and are incredibly hungry and need a large plate of filling chow, this might be just the dish for you but I am sure Denmark won't be rushing to hold up it up as a fine example of what they can do with their National cuisine.
(It amused me that Fred's glass of Merlot cost only 20 cents less than his lunch plate!) Lighthouse Diner - San Rafael - Marin - CA