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Farmhouse Needham (longish)

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We went last night and had an overall positive experience. Arrived 15 min early for our 7:30 reservation and sat at the bar to wait. A lively, somewhat noisy, room that has a cold feel. A couple of nice wooden communal tables, but everything else pretty stark in grey/white. The tables are pretty crammed in tight and I think the space would benefit from a less crowded atmosphere. The bartender gave us wine menus but then became incredibly overwhelmed with table orders and basically ignored us for the next 10 minutes. Small bar (only about 10-12 seats), so he could have turned and given us a "be right with you" gesture. Another bartender showed up and took our orders. DH's Pinot Grigio was absolutely awful (thin vinegar), so we returned it for a Sav. Blanc and they were gracious about it. Strange, though, they serve glass wines in big stemless snifters and the pours seem quite small (probably an illusion of the enormous glass)...stemware was apparent on the bar but is probably saved for people ordering bottles. I had a red, so no problem for me, but DH's white really should be in a stemmed glass.

Our table wasn't going to be ready on time, but hostess came right by to let us know and offer us the option of sitting at the "tasting table", which is just an eating bar along the open kitchen. We passed and were seated about 15 minutes late at a small 2 top right next to the bar access area. It was a horrible table...there was a small floor cabinet (like you might have in your bathroom) up against the end of the bar and our table was right next to it (2-3 feet). Servers were constantly using it, so their backsides were frequently right in our faces. Very unpleasant, but it was so busy I didn't want to ask for another table and decided to just mention it to them when we were leaving so they would have some feedback.

Ok, onto the food.....very nice flavor combinations and presentation and service was very good. However, food overall lacked seasoning and we had to ask for salt for our table. Beet salad had 5-6 small peachy beet chunks and a nice helping of mixed greens, including some chards and perfectly toasted pistachios. An accompanying goat cheese/potato croquette was not memorable and lacked any flavor/seasoning. DH had the potato/leek soup with truffle oil, which was lovely but also needed a good shot of S&P. Farmer salad had similar greens as mine, with a few additional radishes. For main courses, I had the Nantucket scallops which were perfectly cooked with delectable caramelization, served with cauliflower and a grey puree of some sort that tasted of parsnips but was a very unappetizing color alongside the scallops and cauliflower. The plate could have used some visual snap. DH had the vegetarian quiche that he loved, albeit rather small, served on some nice wilted greens.

Service was attentive but the noise level, general chaotic feel and proximity to the service area made us less than comfortable. $89.00 including tip (excluding wines at the bar first). Not a bad experience for a casual dining, and with time they may work out some of the kinks.

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  1. BTW, if anyone has been to the Farmstead Table in Newton, I would be interested in hearing how our experience compares.....

    1. Thanks for posting- we live nearby, and would like to try it!

      2 Replies
      1. re: sallyt

        I hope you post after you go.....I would be interested in hearing about your experience! Not sure we are hurrying back...it just wasn't good enough to warrant the chaos and small portions.

        1. re: Science Chick

          Will do so! Promise :) Now, to get a babysitter!

      2. The bar at Farmhouse is smack in the middle of the small establishment. If waiting for a table, you have to negotiate past several tables to work your way over. When the few seats fill, bar patrons have to stand by, also impinging upon nearby tables. The space just isn't set up very comfortably, IMO.

        1. There were a bunch of posts on this thread stemming from confusion between this restaurant and another with a similar name. We removed them to make the thread less confusing, but if anyone wants a copy of your posts that we removed, you can touch base with us at moderators@chowhound.com or by flagging this post and we can send it back to you.

          1. HI SC,

            finally went to the Farmhouse last night. The service was great - so maybe they worked that out? Our server was clearly busy but very attentive nonetheless. We had some similar dishes - the beet salad and arancini (MUCH bigger portion than the salad), and i had the scallops and my husband had the short ribs. Everything was absolutely fabulous and cooked perfectly. I didn't feel the need for salt and I"m a salt person, so maybe they've fixed that? They've warmed it up with some paintings. I thought that the atmosphere was great, but it was VERY LOUD. I would never want to go with more than one person. Our dessert was a perfect butterscotch pudding - it was delicious.

            So, overall, really loved the food, but the volume... I wish that they could do something about it! Also - a tiny bit pricey for Needham.... But the food was wonderful.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sallyt

              Hi sallyt - glad you had a positive experience...sounds like they might have improved the glitches. You never know, we could easily have hit an off night. As I originally posted, our service was also attentive, but our table was just badly positioned. Curious: how was the presentation on your scallops? I loved the scallops themselves, but I recall there being no shred of color on the plate, making for a rather unappetizing presentation despite the excellent scallops.

              1. re: Science Chick

                I ate there last weekend and my DC had the scallops...I seem to remember the puree being more purple, which was kind of mysterious but definitely more appetizing than gray. :)

                1. re: kt1969

                  Yes, it WAS purple! We had no idea what it was - purple cauliflower? Purple potatoes? It was tasty, though!

                  1. re: sallyt

                    Mine was a gray-ish purple. I agree with Science Chick - not appetizing looking. Not that interesting tasting either. The rest of the dish was good, though it required salt.

            2. Ha - we went there last week (?), and I had the similar issues, lack of seasoning, and overwhelmed bartender. I even ordered the same exact dish as you, and had similar reactions. (Also - were they really from Nantucket? Aren't those the teeny ones?) We might've also been seated at the same table, I noticed that cabinet, but never saw it being used, also, the table must've been a little further away from the bar as we had no rear-ends in our faces. I'll give it another shot.

              1 Reply
              1. re: suepea

                Hopefully my complaint about the table location was registered and acted upon! Sounds like it might have been.......good news!