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FARM (Calgary)

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http://www.farm-restaurant.com/

Thought this deserved its own thread with reference to itself and not a resto in another Canadian city.

Opening very, very soon- paper is off the windows and it looks marvelous- rustic and comfy.

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  1. I called today and they are OPEN! Not accepting reservations but I intend to pop in over the long weekend. Apparently they are open for lunch, closed in the afternoons, and then open again for dinner. I hope they are doing something Thanksgivingy as I am not cooking my bird until next weekend.

    6 Replies
    1. re: higgika

      Yup we (some co-workers and I) popped in for lunch today. We kept it minimal (Although we did splurge for some dessert) as that still is about $20+ pp for lunch. It was very nice, Janice was a flurry of activity. Everything seems well buttoned down and operating smoothly. Some very yummy daily specials (I had the sandwich today). I'm sure we'll be by frequently. Manzo - you must live pretty close by - my office is 17th ave and 13th street - above Morgans.

      1. re: horizontallyopposed

        I can smell Morgans and hear the gunfire and the crack deals from my living room!

      2. re: higgika

        My husband and I went for dinner on Friday night. It is really not a husband kinda place. Well certainly not my husband.

        I agree with everyone - it is beautiful and the service was very good, especially considering they just opened a couple of days ago. The place was packed and everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves. The wine list is extensive and a bit on the pricey side but hey so is JB Cheese. Sometimes great quality and great offerings cost a great deal.

        Anyhow, here is my beef. The menu has no meals on it. We went for dinner. There is no dinner. Yes you can order plates of cheese and meats and salad but no entrees. My husband had the grill cheese and I had the sausage on a bun. His grill cheese looked like something that you would feed a 10-year old for lunch. When it arrived he looked at it and said "So after this, where are we going for dinner?" Uh oh. Now he did say that it was the best grill cheese sandwich he ever had ($12) but it certainly wasn't dinner. I felt the same. Good quality but not dinner. No soups on offer either.

        I would say they are open for lunch and in the evenings because you can't say they are open for dinner as they don't offer entrees. I loved it and I will go back but for a glass of wine, a salad, some meat and cheese appetizers, etc. I can't wait to go back but I won't take my husband and I won't expect dinner - because even for $62 - there was no dinner.

        1. re: higgika

          Well.... I haven't been to Farm but I've heard it's on the same model as Salt in BC. When I went there, our 'dinner' was meat, cheese and condiments with plenty of bread with wine. I think the focus of this sort of thing is supposed to be the wine and cheese/meat... like a cheese bistro. If you were expecting a normal appetizer, entree and dessert thing I can see why it would be jarring. But it's really a lovely evening meal.

          1. re: AriaDream

            i agree, it is a lovely meal - going back today! i can't wait!!

            1. re: AriaDream

              We went for dinner on Friday night and everything we sampled was delicious. I say sample, as we never really did fill up, even though between the two of us we ordered six cheese and six meat samples, a salad and two entrees. I would definitely go back for lunch or pre-dinner appies and vino, but not sure about a full meal. I love Janice Beaton's cheese selections so when I'm tired of sampling at home, this is a good alternative. Don't go hungry...but give it a try!

        2. The website still says "coming soon". :( Does anyone know their hours? I'd really like to see this.

          3 Replies
          1. re: AriaDream

            The website seems to be fully functional now.
            From the "Contact Us" page:

            Sunday to Wednesday 11 am to 2 pm; 5 pm to 11 pm
            Thursday to Saturday 11 am to 2 pm; 5 pm to 1 am

            1. re: cancowboy

              It still shows coming soon for me... strange. Thanks!

              1. re: AriaDream

                FWIW, here's the direct link to the "Contact Us" page
                http://www.farm-restaurant.com/webpag...
                Menu: http://www.farm-restaurant.com/i/menu...
                Wine list: http://www.farm-restaurant.com/i/wine...

                Otherwise, try clear the browser cache.

          2. Just ate here tonight. Very nice. Basically, you pick your wine/drinks, then go and create a charcuterie from their daily list of ingredients. Examples of the offerings on the charcuterie are Cave aged Gruyere accompanied by an onion jelly ($4.50). Duck rillette, accompanied by Brassica mustard ($5.50). Riopelle Brie, and accompanied by dried cherries ($6.50). This all comes on a charcuterie slab, and then you are served a small amount of thin bread slices. It was quite yummy and VERY fresh. The only complaint was the annoying music playing when we first walked in. Would definitely go back. Love the shabby chic interior with beautiful attention to the finishing wood work.

            1. had lunch there this afternoon - it's a step up for calgary - just like when you're at salt, you don't feel like you're in vancouver...at farm, you don't feel like you're in calgary. a job well done for michael noble, he told me he consulted.

              my only complaint was that the server didn't tell us what each thing was and we were trying new cheeses, we figured it our ourselves but....

              nice wine selection but some of the wines i was familiar with seemed a bit $$$$.

              from speaking with noble, i understand that you will be able to reserve the large table if you are a large group but for 2 time slots only so they can still turn it over in an evening. other than that, no reservations.

              i also overheard one of the servers telling someone they are building another kitchen in the basement so they can stay open all day - they currently close between lunch and dinner to catch up with preparations.

              i will be spending a lot of money there i'm afraid.... going back on tuesday for a leisurely lunch, might have to try a desert, they sound delicious!

              1. Had dinner at FARM tonight and it was terrific. A very cozy atmosphere (they dimmed the lights throughout the evening), and I love the concept. The duck rillette is fab-u-lous, it comes with a cranberry jam. I loved it so, I ordered a second helping. Will be back there....

                1. Could I piece together a vegetarian meal?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jetgirly

                    Borrowing from the link cancowboy posted upthread ( http://www.farm-restaurant.com/i/menu... ) it looks like you could do well there's salad, an aged cheddar and Oka grilled cheese, a goat cheese fritter....looks like there are more vege choices at FARM than at your average steakhouse. :)

                  2. From third party reports it seems like all their charcuterie is from Valbella. Nothing wrong with Valbella at all, but I'm a little disappointed they don't do their own or source other local artisans. If I want Valbella charcuterie, I'd rather go to Canmore or the CFM. If anyone knows if they source from other charcuterie artisans let me know cause I just can't justify paying extra for something that is so easily obtained.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: slingshotz

                      Same here, slingshotz. Our server did say that they have plans to make in-house charcuterie. I hope this is true. It leaves the questions: Who's the chef? Where did he/she learn the charcuterie arts?

                    2. I went to Farm over the weekend and had a wonderful experience. I blogged about it here: http://not-a-foodblog.blogspot.com/20...

                      Higgika - Maybe you went too soon after they opened; they now have a soup and an entrée every day on their chalkboard (although not a hefty 12-oz. steak sort of thing!)

                      Pants - Our server was great and told us what all the cheeses and condiments were. Maybe they read the board and took some pointers!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Vincci

                        I have heard from a few people that they added soup - I am an Spoon Fed Soup addict but am always willing to try a new soup. I hadn't heard that they added entrees though. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the update - great photos!

                      2. It was very nice, friendly, good service, great wine and food. It took me while to figure out that 28 grams is 1 oz. At $4.50 to $6.50 a serving it took quite a lot of selections to get anything close to full, so it was quite pricey. Very interesting, worth trying for the variety.

                        1. This is my new favourite place in Calgary :-) I blogged about it at http://www.binkysilhouette.blogspot.com. But here's the jist...

                          I’m a sucker for those casual places that source great ingredients and just let them speak for themselves. I love cutsey, often mis-matched plates. Really, really fine wine glasses. Menus written on chalk-boards. A bar where you can dine alone. Small-plate menus that are made for sharing. Wait staff with piercings.

                          I was getting slightly depressed by the lack of these kinds of places in Calgary. But one just opened. And I *heart* it.

                          Janice Beaton has been a bit of culinary lighthouse for me over the past couple of months. Her cheese stores (Janice Beaton’s Fine Cheese) on 17th Ave and in Kensington prove that the restorative powers of a brie de meaux cannot go underestimated.

                          So the opening of her first restaurant is a big deal. Some say it’s based on Salt in Vancouver, but as I chatted to Janice, it’s clear that this place is all about her passion. Her passion for cheese and for bringing people together over food.

                          The format is simple. One list of 28g serves of cheese and meats, served on boards with a compliment. So your 3 year old Canadian cheddar is paired with a beautiful tomato relish. A chalkboard of daily muses, offers up the “specials” which generally include a soup, a salad and a couple of other dishes. The roasted tomato soup was sensational; creamy (although it contained no cream) with a hint of spice and a sludge of onions. The trout salad, served with a lemon-chevre mousse, caperberries and baguette croutons, was a very grown-up, deconstructed take on a smoked salmon bagel. These might not be here when you go, but there will surely be something equally delicious to tempt you.

                          What I can be sure of is that even without the specials, the short little menu has enough to capture your interest. Order the mac and cheese. Get the large one and fantasise about bathing in the mustardy, cheesy sauce and exfoliating with the crumb topping. The JBFC goat cheese fritter is also worthy of investigation, but you don’t need me to wax lyrical about the virtues of fried cheese. The confit duck salad, with arugala and spinach, is lifted to the sublime by some toasty hazelnuts and dried apple chips. The kitchen really knows how to get the most of their, often local, ingredients by adding in texture. This is simple food, with no superfluous flavours.

                          The drinks list including sherry, port, stickies, international and local beers, ciders and bubbles. The wine list has a really good selection by the glass and some which even come in even tinier tasting pours. I can’t move on from the pouilly fumè at the moment, but they have a couple of vinho verde which I need to try.

                          As we sat, munching, on Friday night, I turned to my expat friend and said “Tonto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” This restaurant is what Calgary needs and it really raises the bar here. It would flourish in any major city. There would be a line round the block if this opened in London. It’s modern, sexy, cosy, delicious and I want to live here. The only problem is that they don’t take reservations, and if they keep up the good work, it’s going to be impossible to get a table very soon.

                          1. Most of the reports I have read so far on Farm were written in 2008. Here is a 2009 opinion:

                            I made a reservation for 6. I was asked to decide in advance if we wanted to order a la carte or get the fixed menu for $35.00 (without wine!). Here is how this reads:

                            - cheeses and charcuteries on wooden boards with mustards, pickles, olives and "carefully paired cheese condiments" . French baguette included.
                            - a tasting of house-made tapenades and seasonal spreads with toasted crostinis,
                            - JBFC’s famous mac and cheese,
                            - a Farm-style bowl of tossed garden greens
                            - a plate of home-made cookies.

                            I asked my group what they wanted and we unanimously voted against with the fixed menu. I am, by the way, a big Kraft Dinner fan, but for $35.00, it should be a side dish, not the main dish.

                            The restaurant was packed with 20-something people, looking very trendy, rather noisy too. We could hardly ear each other around the table. Call me old.

                            We all had one or more of the following items:

                            - A duck plate with a couple of green bits and a mini potato in a small bowl from the chalk board for $18
                            - Garden muse salad - simple refreshing greens with cider vinaigrette & Highwood Crossing canola seeds for $8
                            - Janice’s bubbling, mildly spicy mac n’ cheese accompanied by Farm pickles (large) for $13
                            - Natural artisan sausage from Old Country Sausage Co. Brassica mustard, Broxburn peperonata, sliced baguette for $12

                            The Good:
                            - The salads were very fresh and tasty

                            The Not So Good, in decreasing order:
                            - The $12 sausage looked like a glorified breakfast wiener, with three dabbles of condiments on what looked like an 8 inch square of quarter inch thick particleboard plate I made the choice of the restaurant for our group and this dish in particular made me cringe.
                            - The duck was good but the portion was small
                            - The macaroni and cheese was good but salty. Out of the lot, it got the best reviews
                            - We ordered a bottle of Beaujolais for under $30. Our bottle had a rotten cork, which soured the wine. Our waiter replaced it with a new bottle, which was not corked but not outstanding either.

                            Conclusion: One thing I hate when dining out is coming out hungry. This is exactly what happened to me at Farm. I expected a hardy meal – what would you expect at a place named "Farm"? - I got a skimpy one, all the way down to the skinny baguette slices, delivered almost reluctantly to our table. We did not stay for desert or coffee, opting instead for Moxie's fresh apple and blueberry pie across the street.

                            I would not go back.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: Bouffe_Tout

                              for under $30 at a restaurant, I wouldn't expect much for a beaujolais...

                              I was at Farm for brunch on Sunday, and it was great. Wife had mac n cheese, loved it as usual. I had a croque madame, that was very tasty. Only disappointment was they were oyt of the poached egg dish, which was a take in benedict using potato cakes and coppa... sounded delicious, they had it when we got there, but served the last one while we debated. My sandwich was served on the cutting board you mention - I thought it was a nice touch.

                              1. re: Bouffe_Tout

                                I have always felt it was over priced and highly over rated.

                                1. re: sarah galvin

                                  Totally agree Sarah. As Bouffe said I do get the skimpy feeling there IMHO. $30 Charcuterie board and it wasn't easy getting a few more slices of bread.

                                  1. re: sarah galvin

                                    wow, I felt the same about SALT in Vancouver. Total case of the emperor having no clothes.

                                    Farm, on the other hand? LOVE IT.

                                    1. re: John Manzo

                                      Really, beyond the fact that they are different beasts (even though farm couldnt happen without SALT's success) what disappointed you about SALT?

                                      Great wine list from regional producers ( numerous products you will never see in alberta)
                                      Great wines from around the world that demonstrate great thought in constructing a wine list, where as FARM no such luck.
                                      Great Sherry list as opposed to the meagre FARM offerings.
                                      Price points that are define quality authentic product in every selection
                                      Same goes for cheese
                                      $15 for 3 choices with a choice on sides without an extra charge for certain options
                                      All you could need bread.
                                      Some of the best chefs in Vancouver making products for you ( Pied a Terre Duck Liver pate)
                                      Great Service

                                      FARM is expensive small portions I dont know how anyone could argue you get good value there. The food is good and i have been numerous times but have never found it to offer better value than SALT. Nor has FARM convinced me to try some amazing wine or cheese whereas Kurtis at SALT or other staff members who are passionate have.

                                      If you want to compare apples to apples (not SALT to Farm) try au petit chavingol amazing selections of cheese and pretty good wine list. Prices Points to match FARM but better portions and better cooked food.

                                      1. re: John Manzo

                                        Really? I went to Salt with my family and had a great time, none of us left hungry, they were very generous with the bread. But then, there were eight of us and we ordered quite a bit of wine. Maybe that had something to do with it.

                                      2. re: sarah galvin

                                        i definitely agree with the over priced part of your statement sarah. When we went, we had a selection of cheeses, tried the mac'n'cheese and also the duck. And left hungry.

                                        A comment for these charcuterie-type places: if you're going to be charging me 7 bucks for a tiny lump of cheese and few condiments, the least you could do is not skimp on the bread and crackers. I'm trying to make a piece of cheese which i'd eat in two bites at home last at least six bites, so i'd appreciate a few more pieces of bread to put it on. It's cheap and it fills me up. Milk Tiger definitely does this right with a mountain of crackers. I don't remember this being an issue at vin room either.

                                        1. re: marcopolo

                                          The last time I ate there I spent $45 (one glass of wine) and went home hungry. I guess it is just out of my league. And thanks for the heads up on SALT, John. Now I know I can cross that off my list!

                                          1. re: marcopolo

                                            Why is everyone whining about the small bread portions? I've been to FARM several times and simply asked for more bread. No problem, no charge! I dropped a large piece of cheese on the floor and they replaced that too. For the price I considered eating it!! Good thing they gave me a new one!

                                            I usually share a charcuterie board (the air dried bison from Valbella is so good, as are the chimney stix) and then get a main (have had Mac & Cheese, quail and flank steak) and it's been plenty for me. I ordered a fresh fruit dessert with maple cream, in the summer and three of us shared it, as it was so large. Seriously it was about 4 stone fruits, sliced, plus cherries.

                                            I like to sit up at the bar. I thought it would be weird but the chef's are very welcoming and chatty despite being super busy.

                                            I do a agree it's a little expensive and the sherry selection is crap.

                                            1. re: marcopolo

                                              Well it looks like I have to post a minor retraction, now that I've eat at The Ranche. The charcuterie platter ($24) was huge with air dried bison, boar pate, duck, ham, sausage, two smoked fish, pickles, apricots and cranberries. It really did put FARM portion sizes to shame. 5 of us shared it and had two baskets (yes! baskets) of bread. It felt like a good deal compared to FARM.