DINING WITH GRACE

FARMSHOP

225 26th St., Suite 25, Brentwood Country Mart • (310) 566-2400
By GRACE HINEY

Restaurant Editor
Having reviewed thousands of restaurants in the past 40 some years, I am a little embarrassed to say that this was my first visit to the Farmshop, which has incredible food.

The Culinary Director/Chef Brian Reimer has an interesting culinary history, having lived in Paris, China (for a decade) and then other countries honing his chef skills.

Just studying the menu lets you know that the food here is very special. Furthermore, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, along with several snack and cheese offerings between 2:30 and 5 p.m.

The dining area is family-friendly with a number of tables along the comfy wall as well as a long center table to accommodate large numbers. Simplicity is the standard with wooden tables, heavy linen napkins and small candles on each table. From the dining room, we get to look at the Farmshop food such as specialty cheeses, wines, organic vegetables and fruits.

The menu changes frequently to accommodate each season’s organic specialties. My friend loves the avocado hummus accompanied by pistachio salsa verde with nigella seeds (tiny black onion seeds with a nutty peppery flavor) and pungent, aromatic za’atar lavash.

I, too, found this appetizer quite tasty, especially on a slice of cucumber, carrot or radish accompanying the hummus ($12.) My chicken liver mousse with a blood orange-ginger gelee was served in a glass bowl with a separate minted medjool date chutney, a few pickled carrots and spring radish. It was delicious, and a great way to start off our dinner. We also very much enjoyed the light, crisp chickpea fritters and their superb fried herb and smoked paprika condiment.

Making a choice here is very difficult as each dish sounds more compelling than the listing before it.

Do most menus you are familiar with offer Oregon Octopus as they do here? Unfortunately they were out of this specialty. Now is the time to plan for our next dinner!

Fortunately, my friend found the Grilled Columbia River Wild King Salmon (lightly smoked on cherry wood) to be delicious to the last bite. I, too, enjoyed a little of this superb fish. With the fish came special Valdiva Farms English peas with tendrils, Bernard Ranch grapefruit and fresh horseradish ($45).

My choice was the Beeler’s Pork Schnitzel. The elegant pork was beautifully served and topped with a crushed farm egg and slices of crispy pork belly and rare, richly flavored hen-of-the-woods mushrooms. Beautiful spears of green asparagus and capers came along with the succulent pork slices flavored with sweet and sour mustard ($29).

With these entrees we shared the zesty, smashed little organic farm potatoes flavored with calabrian chili pesto, pickled mustard seeds and dill ($9).

As you can perceive from these details, organic “farm to table” foods are what you will find here. Other entrees include a Herb-Roasted Jidori chicken fricasseee ($29); Domenico’s spaghetti with Oregon morel mushrooms, English peas, tendrils and fresh mint ($29); a Strauss pasture-raised New York steak ($42) and an Aspen Ridge porterhouse steak for two ($98).

My excellent decaf coffee was served in its own pot—something not seen in most restaurant. And, of course, dessert. The chef suggested a caramel cream pie with chocolate ganache and peanut butter at its base. Rich and delightful.

Parking is validated in the lots around the building. I venture to say this will not be my last visit to Farmshop.

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