Farmhaus opened just inside the city limits in 2010, offering fine food and a dedication to local purveyors, organic ingredients and sustainable agriculture. Since its debut, the restaurant and chef/owner Kevin Willmann have received all manner of local and national culinary accolades. On our last visit, we were reminded of why.
Farmhaus is located in a small store- front on a fairly non-descript block, and the interior is as humble as the exterior. The vibe was very casual and comfortable, like a favorite neighborhood hangout, completely lacking in pretension. The space is small, and seating limited: Farmhaus only takes reservations for parties of four or less, so be advised when planning your own visit.
The cocktail program at Farmhaus doesn’t get a lot of press, but it should. The drinks list featured plenty of creative concoctions, many made with house-made spirits infusions. We sipped on a Pimmski Breeze ($9), a refreshing combo of Pimm’s No. 1, Ski soda and cucumber, and a Quiet Shark ($9), which featured a cucumber-gin infusion, St. Germain and dry vermouth.
The Farmhaus menu changes daily, depending on what captures Willmann’s fancy. We started our meal with the Summer Salad ($12), a flavorful overview of the season’s bounty that included grilled okra, corn and eggplant, sweet peppers, cucumbers, roasted beets, and fresh goat’s milk cheese, courtesy of Baetje Farms. The salad came to the table in a jar with two pieces of crispy lavash across the top, a nice rustic touch.
The Farmhaus take on the classic Scotch Egg ($13) was a complex amalgam of flavor and texture, with a soft, almost creamy farm-fresh egg complemented by the coarse housemade chorizo, and the whole dish brought together with a strong tomatillo sauce that almost veered into the realm of bitterness, but not quite.
The Porchetta Steamed Buns ($10), were soft, chewy Asian-style buns filled with pork and topped with a cabbage kimchi that was tangy but not overly spicy. It balanced the fatty slices of meat nicely.
The Pompano ($25) was a fillet of mild fish, blackened just right, and served with creamed corn, fried okra, pickled green beans and an okra salad. The tangy beans were an ideal counterpoint to the buttery fish, and the fried okra was a real triumph. The pieces were tender, not tough, and fried with just the right amount of batter so as not to be doughy or gooey. The attention to every detail on the plate was truly impressive.
For dessert, we had the Corn Cake ($10), delicately flavored cake and accompanied by nuggets of caramel corn, a piece of popcorn cake and a dollop of corn ice cream—all house-made. This creative maize tour-de-force was subtle and sweet and the nuances of flavor coaxed from the four corn-based components were not at all what we expected. The food at Farmhaus is a shining example of what can be achieved with the best ingredients, a lot of creativity and a little bit of TLC.
Farmhaus, 3257 Ivanhoe Ave., 647-3800