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Aug 2, 2012 09:24 AM

Farmshop... wow

A family member and I had an amazing meal at Farmshop last night. One of the best meals I’ve had in a long, long time. Wow, was it terrific.

We started with the Fried Smelts. These are tiny whole fish, done in their fried chicken batter. These were very good… probably our least favorite of the night but that is because everything else was so incredible. I can see people freaking out about these more than we did. Served with a lovely lemon aioli.

We split two salads: Smashed Beet Salad with purslane, toasted pecans & pt. reyes blue cheese crema and Weiser Farm Melon Salad with creminelli soppressata, whipped fromage blanc with black olives, agretti & thai basil. Both of these were out of this world. The ingredients in both were so fresh and so beautifully prepared. The presentation of the melon salad was a work of art. The beets are roasted skin on and served that way… I think I will do this from now on, it was excellent. The melon salad was a combination of flavors I never would have tried and was perfect.

Then we had the Roast Jidori Chicken… incredibly tender and moist, served over a wonderful combination of mushrooms, leeks and corn. And we also had the Beef Sirloin, served wonderful potatoes and tomatoes. Perfectly cooked, all very flavorful. The Beef was topped with what is listed as a chimichurri but I would call more a gremolata. It was stunning. So fresh and the flavor explosive in a wonderful way.

Our one side was the best dish of the evening. Fried Heirloom Eggplant. Lightly dusted, and the eggplant was surprisingly sweet. We devoured this.

Well, we devoured it all. I can’t wait to return. I know now why the place is receiving such accolades.

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    1. re: westsidegal

      Based on the menu on their site, it looks like just south of $120 for what they had.

      Tom P, how was the service? We've always loved the food but had not so great service there.

      1. re: PeterCC

        I like the food there, and I wouldn't mind paying for it if the service was better and the restaurant was more comfortable. I got tired of being crammed in between people at the communal table, getting mediocre service, and leaving hungry after paying $40 for breakfast or lunch. I assume dinner service would be better because of the pace, but having multiple bad experiences during the day makes it hard to go back.

        1. re: la2tokyo

          We actually had very good service. Maybe they are trying harder. The sommelier was wonderful and spent a lot of time with us, without suggesting an expensive bottle. Our waiter was very good as well. We chose a 2-top near the door but it was not close to another table, so we had privacy. I could see how it could be cramped. I found the chairs very comfortable, though, at least for my bottom :) And I loved the tables themselves. We had a great experience. My relative, who is painfully picky, wants to go back.

          1. re: Tom P

            I don't think the chairs are uncomfortable, but the seats at the communal table have no backs, which seems a little silly when you pay $40 for an omelette, coffee and a pastry. The food has been great every time I have been there. The cooking is very precise, and I have never had a dish there that wasn't pretty much perfect. I'll give it another shot at dinner.

            1. re: la2tokyo

              In another thread I raved about the fried chicken and how it is available for takeout in the Market at Farmshop. Happy to report that the roast Jidori chicken breast is often available (get there early in the day). It has become a dinner staple for us. Delicious.

            2. re: Tom P

              Our waitress was completely unattentive, and our experience was only saved by her fellow waiter/waitress coworkers picking up her slack. That of course led to the dilemma of how to tip. Didn't want to reward bad behavior, but tips are likely not shared, so... I think we ended up tipping 10%.

              1. re: PeterCC

                Understood, Peter. I often ask in situations like that (ask the hostess)... As a one time waiter who was not fond of pooling tips, I am often surprised how many places do indeed pool.

          2. re: PeterCC

            During the handful of visits (brunch & dinner), our servers were always on point , neither aggressively attentive, nor lackadaisical.

            Never had to sit at the communal tables, so can't say anything about chairs. But I'm also not one who needs to have a seatback, ever. Is everyone doing some gangsta lean while eating?

            The menu is definitely not the "daily affordable" type though.

        2. I agree with everything you're saying however I'm just not that blown away by the Jidori Chicken. Oftentimes I find it very bland albeit very well prepared as far as tenderness/juiciness goes.

          11 Replies
          1. re: latindancer

            Stopped in for a light lunch this afternoon. At 2;00pm, most of the tables were still filled.Sat at the bar and had a beautiful cold cucumber soup which was poured over a small piece of smoked trout. Wanted a little more food, so I ordered the avocado hummus with pomegranate seeds and served with delicious flat bread. A marvelous dish. It is really too much for one, so I took home the other half for my spouse. He also loved it. Oh, BTW, while I was there, a big tray of roast chicken breasts came out of the kitchen. That chicken is crazy good. I think we have had it 3 times this week.

            1. re: maudies5

              Oh, I agree about the food. I'm there, also, at least twice a week for either takeout or sit down. However, I'm just not getting the chicken. It's moist but not very flavorful to me. I think I'm just spoiled by the chicken at Plan Check.

              1. re: maudies5

                i kinda like the fried chicken dinners on Sundays, but once again I found it to be way to expensive.

                fried chicken, plus an appetizer and dessert for $48 bucks ??????

                am i missing something here ???

                1. re: kevin

                  "am i missing something here ???"

                  A positive bank balance? ;-D>

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Exactly, but that's been going on for the past few years, sadly.

                  2. re: kevin

                    I've yet to try the fried chicken on Sundays. Forty eight dollars for a fried chicken dinner? I know when I purchase small sides or a really good sandwich it comes to a ridiculous price where even the check out person seems to wince sort of apologetically :).
                    I'm one of those people who miss City Kitchen and remember those pretzel croissants.

                    1. re: latindancer

                      Do you mean City Bakery that was previously in the same space?

                      1. re: PeterCC

                        Yep...that pretzel croissant was excellent...sorry to see them go.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          They were also overpriced but not this overpriced.

                          i did like going their for their big ass chocolate fudge cookies and sometimes for the pretzel croissant, though i wasn't a fan like you and others.

                          yeah, it was a decent space.

                          1. re: kevin

                            Their pretzel croissants and those big fudge cookies may have been overpriced but in this case it was well worth it.
                            I'll pay over-the- top for food that is outstanding and this was one of the places I'd go.

                2. Yeah, it is over priced. So I don't go but once in a blue moon. But when I do, I am rewarded with the very best egg salad I have ever had in my life. I mean plate licking good. Their salads are generally pretty good, but I am telling you... I would sell a kidney for the egg salad recipe...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: laura w

                    I am another big fan of the egg salad. That chilled cucumber soup is also out of this world.
                    Start with the cucumber soup and then have the egg salad. A great lunch!

                    1. re: maudies5

                      what is the egg salad sandwich like 15 bucks a pop.

                      also is it better than the much-lauded and heralded for nearly two decades now, soft-boiled egg salad sandwich at Europane in Pasadena.???

                      i've only been to farmshop for dinner so far.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Kevin, I just discovered Europane (husband just started working in Pasadena a couple blocks away.) I will try it soon enough and give you a taste comparison. I know from seeing the egg salad at Europane that it is much better bang for the buck.

                    2. re: laura w

                      No need to sell a kidney, Laura w. I had that egg salad for lunch today and ate at the counter. I asked the waiter if he would tell me the ingredients. He was happy to oblige. Chopped hard boiled eggs, creme fraiche, chopped chives and a touch of anchovy. It was so delicious. I love the way it is served, cup, little spoon, toasted brioche, roast beets and salad.

                      1. re: maudies5

                        Thanks, maudies5...I have asked a few times and get a different answer each waiter said no dairy, another said creme (maybe he meant creme fraiche!) the one thing I was able to establish for sure is the use of white anchovies, which I finally tracked down in the refrigerated section of Surfas. I will try your waiter's version!

                    3. no offense to any, it isnt a cheap meal but I appreciate the local fresh ingredients prep'd the way I enjoy, it's worth a bit more to me. I love it all there, the chicken poached in olive oil salad to something as simple as their scrambled eggs & bacon. Service has always been decent, not great not bad but we always have what we need when we need it :)

                      FAB place.... thank you for your review Tom, now interested to definitely try the roast chicken!