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Jun 18, 2012 04:37 PM

Farmhouse Cafe

Hi - looking for a place to get a Farmhouse Cafe experience on a Monday night (they're closed). By "experience" I mean intimate restaurant, great food, laid-back vibe. Any last-minute suggestions? Thanks.

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  1. I would dine at Bleu Boheme in Kensington, Bo Beau Kitchen in OB or Brooklyn Girl in Mission Hills.
    For old school..Bully's East or Albie's Beef Inn..both have the same art on the walls.. ; )

    13 Replies
    1. re: Beach Chick

      Thank you very much for the great ideas!

      1. re: Beach Chick

        "For old school..Bully's East or Albie's Beef Inn..both have the same art on the walls.. ; )"

        Alrighty then, I just choked on my Chenin Blanc. The "art" on the walls has been there 50 years, it's probably welded on by time now...

        1. re: DiningDiva

          The Flemish masterpieces of Rubenesque women are way beyond welded on the wall by Dad always wanted to face the paintings when we were Mom was skinny so it was a lot of women to look at for Dad... ; )

          Don't choke on that Chenin Blanc DD!

          1. re: Beach Chick

            Crazy. Young chef friends of my husband's were recommending Albie's to him. I googled it and gagged. I guess they're so young that the place is kitsch enough and cheap enough to appeal; like a movie so bad it's good. To put Albie's and Farmhouse in the same thread is beyond bizarre. But then this is San Diego. . .

            1. re: pickypicky

              What's so 'beyond bizarre' about Albie's Beef Inn?

              It's an 'experience' like the OP requested and somewhat 'intimate' and your DH young chef friends long for places exactly like this..
              Is it going to win any James Beard awards..probably not, but to be honest, I want more places like this.

              Maybe you and your chef husband should head to PHX and dine at my of my fave's Durant's..probably does more per square foot in sales than most resto's in SD and they haven't changed a thing!

              1. re: Beach Chick

                You're absolutely right on all counts. (I'm assuming since I haven't been). I have my own nostalgia places in Texas which haven't changed a thing, but I go for the memories, and I'm careful who I drag with me.

                And yes, I agree that more restaurants that are --of a place-- and that have survived more than a few years are a good thing. What's crazy is that last night, I said to my husband, "I've never read anything about Albie's on Chowhound." And here it is.

                (I would only suggest that Feed_Me_Please check out yelp photos before going there. The Carrot Dildo seems to be an Albie's speciality along with the meat slabs and 70's gauzy nudes. Also, that the avg. dining age at Albie's is 73, according to yelp.)

                1. re: pickypicky

                  Actually, Albie's is a 60s kinda place more than it is the 70s. It's also pretty inexpensive which allows young chefs who might not be making an awful lot of $$ to take a first date someplace, um, interesting where the food is decent if uninspired for not a lot of cash. Besides, at that age, they're more interested in each other and the chemistry than they are the chemistry, or lack thereof, on the plate. It's an old-school, throwback to steakhouses from the last century. It'll never set the culinary world on fire, but when you want a pretty good piece of meat for not a lot of cash, Albie's will fill the bill. Tho' I gotta agree, it's a totally different experience than Farmhouse Cafe :-)

                  1. re: pickypicky

                    Carrot Dildo! Coffee spit all over my laptop! Thanks for the morning giggle.

                    1. re: foodiechick

                      Thank you and DD for taking the time to help me understand Albie's (why young chefs would love it)

          2. re: Beach Chick

            ...and that's the sound of history repeating. In SD, no less!

              1. re: Beach Chick

                Durant's...after walking through their kitchen, nothing beats the crudite throwback of celery, carrot and olives served chilled in a metal bowl. I recommend splitting the pork chops. I always eat here after long rehearsals with the opera.

                Nice to know there are other saveurs around here...

                1. re: SaltyRaisins

                  Love love love that you dine at my beloved Durant's...been going there for many decades.
                  Walking thru the kitchen, saying Hi to the staff, sitting down in the burgundy Naugahyde booths, chilled relish tray, rubenesque paintings, cocktail and the classic old school menu..

                  With tears in my eyes of happiness that you know and love Durant's.

          3. Alchemy
            Banker's Hill
            possibly Starlight - I got tired of looking through their website to learn days they're open
            A R Valentien (or The Grill downstairs which is less expensive)

            9 Replies
            1. re: pickypicky

              I don't really see what Banker's Hill, Piatti and the Grill have much to do with Farmhouse Cafe in terms of food, ambience etc. All three have not great food (with Piatti the best of the three) and are not intimate restaurants with a laid-back vibe. Alchemy and Starlite are better options and I would add Cafe Chloe (which is much better than Farmhouse Cafe), Smoking Goata nd Jayne's Gastropub.

              1. re: honkman

                Smoking Goat and Jayne's closed on Monday.

                1. re: honkman

                  I don't think it's accurate to say Chloe is "much better" than Farm House. Cafe Chloe and Farm House are very different. I love Chloe, but I have had occasionally had bad experiences there with both food and service - mostly at night. Some meals have been better than others at Farm House, but it varies much less in my experience, and the service is far more professional.

                  1. re: Alice Q

                    How would you differentiate the two?

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      Chloe is open all day for service and is more of a "true cafe" with casual seating - whereas Farm House is dinner only every day except Sunday when they also serve brunch. Farm House has a traditional dinner menu of appetizers, mains and desserts with the main dishes (except for the burger) served fine dining style, where Chloe serves a menu of standby "all day" dishes like their frites, the cheese plate, brandade, etc. and a few mains such as steak frites, moules, a bistro salad, a tartine, and maybe one or two other dishes plus a special (at least at lunch, I rarely go for dinner.) Farm House's menu changes more seasonally whereas Chloe seems to maintain largely the same menu year round, bringing in specials and maybe rotating one or two dishes on or off the menu based on the time of year. Chloe also offers an afternoon tea which is really nice and does great desserts (the fruit tart with creme fraiche ice cream is TDF.) Farm House has more professional wine service (and better prices - especially on half price nights Tues and Wed) and though the service can vary at both places, I think Chloe tends to be a little more relaxed. You definitely don't want to go there if you have to be in and out in an hour! The owners take Thursdays off at Farm House and they do a "beer and sausage" night that day that I haven't tried yet. We usually go on Tues or Wed, since the half price wine night is such a great deal.

                      1. re: Alice Q

                        We are only going for dinner to Cafe Chloe and the menu for dinner is definitely not as you describe as "all day" dishes but similar to Farmhouse Cafe "fine dining style". It's funny that you write about the seasonal menu at Farmhouse and the static one at Cafe Chloe when it is the other way around. Farmhouse with its small menu has way too many menu items for too long on their menu, e.g. flatbread, escargot risotto, burrata salad (most of the time served with some kind of beets, chicken liver mousse, lamb fettuccini, burger). It;s actually the second reason beside the inconsistency of the kitchen why we don;t go more often to Farmhouse as there are not enough new dishes on their menu after a few visits. Cafe Chloe could change their appetizer list for dinner more often but they are now serving most of the time at least one appetizer specials daily and change some others more freqently on the menu. Their entrees are much more seasonal driven and they have one meat and fish special every night (which have never repeated over the last few years) and in addition 6-7 entrees which change every two months. The only constant dish one their menu are the steak & frites.
                        And yes I agree that the service at Farmhouse is more rushed than at Cafe Chloe.

                        1. re: honkman

                          Ah well, to each their own. We have had so many bad experiences at Chloe for dinner that my husband won't even go there anymore - which is why I usually go during the day. It has to be lunch with friends. FH does have a smaller menu - and the seafood dishes are usually what I order - they seem to change pretty often and the brunch menu changes weekly. And Chloe is definitely open all day, whereas FH is dinner only.

                    2. re: Alice Q

                      I don't think both restaurants are very different. Both have quite a similar, nice, french influenced (one more urban, the other more "rural") ambience, similar culinary influences which particular obvious with the fish dishes which are often very similar. We have eaten at Cafe Chloe perhaps 80-90 times and around 10-15 times at Farmhouse - during this time we had about 2-3 disappointing dishes at CC but every other visit at Farmhouse we seem to have a disappointing dish - for us they lack consistency in the kitchen. Service is professional at both places.

                  2. re: pickypicky

                    Not sure what's so complicated about the Starlite page when it's on their first/front page:

                    MON-SUN - SUNDAY BRUNCH
                    5PM-2AM 10:30AM-2:00PM