Farmstead Restaurant – Does it Live up From Farm to Table?
So, we’d been to Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch (LMR) once before and we really enjoyed the rich, ripe flavor of the food and meats, the actual farming of our food right on the premise, or there abouts, and the outside patio bar area that eases naturally into the restaurant’s spacious and upscale barn feel.
On impulse, while driving over the Oakville Crossroads, we were reminded of our first visit to Farmstead. So, we rerouted to St. Helena and arrived without reservations on a Friday night around 7:00 pm. From our first visit here we knew there’d be a wait, and the outside patio bar area is a very pleasant, very social with around 40 other people in the outside patio bar. We like people-watch as much as the next person, so we weren’t concerned. It was a 45 minute wait, but hey, we just dropped in. We got drinks and claimed a high table and stools just as it was being abandoned.
My husband’s drink was called 24 Carrot. It was made with Benham’s gin, LMR carrot juice, LMR honey, lime, and vanilla bitters. For being such an unorthodox combo, it was delicious. (We share tastings of each other’s food and drink all the time.) I got an Agua Fresca. It had cucumber & lemon verbena infused Reyka vodka, crushed strawberries, simple syrup, and tonic. It was clean and brisk. That night they had live music with a singer / guitarist playing easy renditions of late 1960s and 1970s cover songs, such as Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler”. He was good and this song got my attention as I hadn’t heard it in a long time.
For the Table
One of the chef’s special that night was fried Shishito peppers with a simple and elegant Sweet Cream Sauce. Yum! This was mostly new to me, having only had fried peppers once or twice in my distant childhood growing up in Napa. The Shishito peppers were wilted to perfection in a clean, mildly smoky oil, served simply with a sprinkling of salt and a ramekin cream sauce reminiscent of clotted cream and whipping cream. Eating peppers is like playing Russian Roulette. They’re mostly mild, but for those two hot Shishito peppers I got, the cream was a delicious “buffering agent” with a cool, melting mouthfeel.
I ordered their Wood-Grilled Castroville Artichoke with sauce gribiche and a grilled lemon on the side. It was perfectly cooked, and presented as two-halves, de-fuzzed, ready to enjoy. The grilled lemon had a uniquely sweet smoke-tang. The gribiche sauce was lovely, with just enough tang to wake up the artichoke flavor. My reward to patiently stripping each previous leave in the lead up to the heart was burst of flavor and a big dallo of the sauce. Awww…heaven.
My husband specifically ordered a grass-fed cheeseburger with vella cheddar, arugula, potato bun, crispy potatoes, and of course he added avocado, an LMR egg, and bacon. He order his burger medium rare. The burger arrived looking like a cross between artwork and what tipped over in your closet. And…it was great! The burger was juicy and flavorful, the vella cheddar distinctive and rich, with the arugula adding a pleasant astringent taste to all of the fat and rich flavors. The crispy potatoes were excellent! They had this entire crispy-covering to their skin without any actual covering. I think they were allowed to dry before being fried. They were perfect.
On a whim, I ordered a special LMR 14 oz. Porterhouse Steak, rare thank you very much, with a chimicurri-type sauce…and it was marvelous! The mixture of flavors in the sauce, with the juices and blood from the steak mingled perfectly with light olive oil they used; each bite was soul-satisfying.
My husband likes dessert, and his favorite is strawberry shortcake. So, of course he ordered their strawberry shortcake made with a sweet cream biscuit and served with unsweetened whipped cream. The shortcake itself was delicious and different. Homestead’s pastry chef put finely ground cornmeal into the an already excellent recipe full of butter and cream such that it created a nutty, delicate crunch nuance to this rich, crumbly biscuit. The strawberries were only lightly sugared and of course the flavor of the garden comes through with unsweetened, quality whipped cream.
Since we were sort of celebrating a personal triumph, we both indulged in Schramberg Champagne, Blanc De Noir, North Coast, 2014. Schramberg never disappoints and we ended our impromptu evening feeling thoroughly entertained, pleasantly full and effervescent.
If you’re in the Napa Valley, this is definitely one of the place you should try, especially their burger!
For more information and reservation, you can visit Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch.