We began our trip to Ocean Shores via the town of Cosmopolis. A friend, Jack Falskow, had recommended Clarks Restaurant in Cosmopolis as a great place to review for our local stories.
Cosmopolis is just across the river from Aberdeen. It's not quite on the way to Ocean Shores, but not that far off the beaten track.
We first arranged to meet a client, Eddie Lewis of South Puget Sound Construction Recycling who cleans up construction and demolition sites from Clallum County down the coast to Grays Harbor. We would leave on Monday and meet Eddie at Clarks Restaurant for lunch. We would then be meeting Lewis in Clarks. Eddie then changed our meeting to Tuesday. We moved our meeting to Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean Shores instead. However, Peg and I wanted to try out Clarks, because Jack Falskow just raved about the food.
The route seemed simple enough. We would head for the ocean and get off the freeway at Montesano, cross the Chehalis River and then turn north on 101 to Cosmopolis. We were soon cursing the name of Jack Falskow. We drove north through Cosmopolis . . . no Clarks. We turned around and drove south through Cosmopolis . . . no Clarks. We turned around again and drove north again . . . no Clarks. We stopped by the "Welcome to Cosmopolis" sign to see if there was a "Thank you for visiting Cosmopolis" on the backside, but no. We even stopped on a bridge in Cosmopolis to see where the water ran. Nowhere. Just nowhere. The water ended at the railroad trestle with three doors underneath it, which reminded me of "Let's Make a Deal."
We laughed about Clarks the entire week and finally, on Saturday we decided instead of driving through Aberdeen for our return home, we would turn right at Aberdeen, cross over the draw bridge, and head south on 101 until we discovered Clarks Restaurant or found ourselves in the town of Raymond.
As soon as we reached the crest of the bridge there was a pelting deluge. 101 has lots of roadwork due to slides, so driving rain was not a good sign. Curse you Jack Falskow. Clarks was not in Cosmopolis, but rather in Arctic, which is about two miles south of the junction of 107 and 101 where we headed north originally. In the pouring rain we drove into the mud puddle filled parking lot of Clarks Restaurant. The restaurant is more quaint than swanky. We were the only customers there.
An older man soon followed us in. We placed our orders and a young couple came in followed by another young couple with a child, and then a basketball family came in (two tall women and a tall man with a sports sweatshirt). I got the feeling it was from his school. He was not a pretend athlete.
I ordered the soup of the day which was a ham and white bean soup. It looked really thin, but I shrugged my shoulders and took a spoonful into my mouth. That was a great broth . . . I mean a really great broth. Jack Falskow isn't as bad a fellow as I thought. The ham was delightful. The beans were perfect.. The soup wasn't the best soup I had all day . . . it was the best soup we had eaten all week. I should have ordered a bowl instead of a cup.
With the addition of some chopped clams and a little cream, that bean soup could have passed for clam chowder and won awards. Thank you, Jack. Thank you.
The baked potato I was served was between seven and eight inches long . . . stuffed with butter, sour cream, bacon, and green onions. My only problem with the potato was it was an Idaho potato. I don't have a problem with the state, but these big bakers are just an excuse to eat lots of sour cream and butter and all the other trimmings. Now, I have no problem with that either, but the potato itself is several rungs down on the ladder of potato perfection that I climb on.
Peg buys red potatoes and yellow potatoes. Most people don't eat them as bakers, but we do. When we are going to have baked potatoes I throw half a dozen potatoes about the size of a tennis ball into the oven. I over-cook them at 400 degrees in our small oven for an hour. When they come out they are caramelized. Sometimes I throw them into a bowl and spray them with coconut oil and them sprinkle them with sea salt. When they don't get eaten for dinner, they go into the fridge and never see the light of day. I'll eat them cold. They are almost like candy.
If you like Idaho potatoes then you will find that Clarks again, will fill your heart with joy.
Peg gave me half of a half of her pulled pork sandwich. Not only was it the best sandwich I had all week, but it was the best pulled pork sandwich I've ever tasted. And I've tasted quite a few. The pulled pork had to have been braised and bathed . . . soaked . . . and force-fed the incredible broth from the ham and bean soup. Then just a touch of BBQ sauce was added. I wept at the first bite.
My only problem with the sandwich was the bun. It wasn't enough for the pork. A crusty baguette of French bread . . . or sourdough would have been perfect. It could have stood up to the flavors of the pulled pork and left the option for dipping like a French Dip sandwich. Perhaps a Pulled Pork Dip Sandwich? Oh, my . . . word. Clarks could just go with a one sandwich menu and never lose a customer.
Peg couldn't finish her last bit of her second half. I took it and wiped up the few drops of broth left in my soup bowl. I closed my eyes and savored the bite until it completely melted in my mouth.
Now, here is the insider knowledge you need to make the most out of your trip to Clarks Restaurant. Don't eat too much. Peg didn't even taste her BBQ Beans. I picked up her ramekin and tried them. They were wonderful. I ate them all. It was only then that I found out that Clarks' makes their own soft-serve ice cream. How come nobody told me this? Peg and I ordered the small cone. Mine was delivered first. It was half gone by the time Peg returned to the table from chin-chucking a baby. I was so into the lavender colored berry ice cream I forgot to take a picture of Peg with her cone. Sorry.
We had a very simple meal at Clarks, but it was the best complete meal we had all week. By the time we left Clarks there were numerous cars in the parking lot and this was on a raining April afternoon. Evidently Jack Falskow has told others about Clarks Restaurant. Thank you, Jack, thank you, thank you, thank you . . .