Wednesday, September 7, 2011

RR: Farmhaus (St. Louis)

Wow - I feel so cosmopolitan doing a restaurant review from another city!  Since I travel so much, it's only appropriate...or not.  But whatev, I can pretend.

As I said in yesterday's post, on Saturday night of this past weekend, Jonathan, my mom, my sister, and I headed to south city Stl to hit up Farmhaus, a new-ish restaurant located in a residential neighborhood.

First things first, and to get this out of the way, this restaurant is not necessarily the coolest looking place you've ever been.  It's pretty small and the tables are super close together (which I'm fine with, but just an fyi).  There are white tableclothes, but the napkins are dish towels.  I get the shabby-chic they're trying to nail down, I just don't think they did it very well.  Also - and note before I say this, I'm a huge freak about lighting and am super picky about it - the lighting was awful, in my opinion.  It was overhead lit with dim yellow lights, which maybe sounds nice, but it wasn't.  It felt oppressively yellow but too dim at the same time.  A few lamps and some candles on the tables could've done wonders, I think.

But all that aside, let's get to the food, which was great!  The waitress informed us that the kitchen makes food and it comes out as it's ready.  The menu itself was sort of odd in that it wasn't divided in any way, it was basically just a long list of stuff.  The only differentiator between courses was the price, and it was then left up to you to decide which course went where.  My usual go-to at a nicer restaurant is to get a salad/first course, a main course, and a dessert if I'm still hungry.  Well on this menu, that didn't seem like the best option since there were only a couple salads and a ton of small plates/appetizers.

We decided to get three of these apps to split, each get an entree, and each get dessert.  Our apps were: bruschetta, conch fritters, and "nachos."  I was really happy with all of these.  The bruschetta was delicious - it isn't something I usually order at a restaurant, but I loved it.  The ingredients were fresh and there was a nice balsamic drizzle.  The "nachos" were also great - sweet potato chips topped with warm, melty blue cheese, bacon, and bell pepper-flavored ketchup.  Yum!  The conch fritters were good, but not as much as the other two - I think the only redeeming aspect of them for me was the spicy sauce they were served with and the jalapenos inside the batter.  I love spicy stuff!

For our entrees, I got a fish dish (maybe halibut?), my mom got a fish dish (grouper, maybe?), my sister got bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and Jonathan got steak.  My and my mom's dishes were tiny.  But it was ok, it was maybe a relief, actually, compared to some of the absurd portions other restaurants serve.  Mine was good - it wasn't the best entree I've ever had, but it was also far from the worst.  It was served with some awesome bread on the side and some creamy shrimp.  The cream sauce was abundant and I ended up dipping the halibut in it as well.  My mom said she liked her dish and Jonathan did as well (I ate some of the cheesy potatoes his steak came with and they were awe-some!).  My sister wasn't a huge fan of hers but she's maybe a tad too much of a picky eater at restaurants with more adventurous menus, so possibly not the best judge.

For dessert, I got a peanut butter mousse in a chocolate shell; Jonathan got a toffee cake; and my mom and sister got a baked peach cobbler/pie thing.  The peach was the clear winner in the dessert category - delicious, flaky pastry with sugary, warm peaches.  But mine was pretty good too.  Jonathan's was just decent which made him sad.

Overall, I would recommend Farmhaus for the food.  When compared to three other upscale-ish dining places I've been of late in Stl (Atlas, Vin de Set, and 1111 Mississippi), I would rank the food high (alongside Atlas).  But I would rank the atmosphere the lowest, no question.  We didn't walk into the small bar, so that might be a little nicer in terms of feel.  But that lighting - man, it was no good!

Overall, I recommend.  Check it out if you're in the area.  I think it would be fun to go and just get drinks, a few small plates/apps, and dessert.  (Also, there were some cool seats that were right in the front window which I would recommend if I ever went back.)

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