I’ve heard a lot of good things about Farmhaus over the years but for some reason, I never stopped by. All that changed last month.
My boyfriend asked me where I wanted to go for dinner to celebrate my new job and I suggested Farmhaus. It’s been on my list for a while. The restaurant is farm-to-table and is known for using fresh, seasonal ingredients. I’m all about using fresh, in-season produce so I decided to check it out.
We went for dinner the first time at the beginning of September. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the best dining experiences of my life. “Emily,” you might be saying to yourself, “you always say that.” But in this case, it’s true. It ranks high up there with Zuni Café in San Francisco and Giant in Chicago.
When you have a good dining experience, it’s different from enjoying a nice dinner. It remains in your memory indefinitely, so in a few months or years you think back and still feel good about the meal.
Of course, it takes more than just good food: You also have to be in the right company, whether it’s dining alone in a good mood or being with someone you care about. Also, the service has to be superior. But sometimes, if you’re lucky, the stars will align and you can enjoy a close to perfect meal.
ANYWAY. Before I get too carried away, I’ll tell you more about Farmhaus. We had an early reservation and the restaurant sat us at a corner table across from the bar near the window. I like these seats best because of the natural light. It helps when I try to take pictures of food.
For the first course, we ordered the roasted Ozark Forest mushroom salad with goat cheese from Baetje Farms, a local goat cheese purveyor. I love the combination of flavors and textures in the salad. There was soft goat cheese and mushrooms, crunchy pecans, and hearty greens.
We followed that up with a house specialty and one of my favorite dishes, the sweet potato nachos with smoked house bacon and blue cheese from Salemville, a Wisconsin blue cheese company. I want to recreate a simpler version of this dish at home sometime. The chips were thinly-sliced pieces of sweet potato and I loved the combination with the smokey bacon and tart blue cheese.
If or when you stop by Farmhaus, make sure you order one of their house pastas. The first time I went, I got the spaghetti roja with housemade noodles, locally foraged Lobster mushrooms, corn, tomato and onion sugo, toasted breadcrumbs, and cheese from one of my favorite local cheese purveyors, Marcoot Jersey Creamery. The pasta was hearty and filling but light at the same time. It tasted like the end of summer.
Dessert is a must at Farmhaus. The menu is small and there are a couple staples including the chocolate cup, which we ordered the first time. It’s basically a fancy peanut butter cup with dark chocolate mousse, peanut butter ice cream, shaved chocolate, and peanut butter crumble. We split the dessert and a part of me wished we each had our own.
Throughout dinner, the service was attentive without being overbearing. The waiter was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu. I felt at home while I was eating, which is one of the signs of a good restaurant and dining experience. You want to be comfortable while you’re eating.
We stopped by Farmhaus again a couple weeks ago for my boyfriend’s birthday. I made a reservation and this time, we sat at a corner table in the main dining room. It was a different experience because there are more diners in this part of the restaurant, even though the dining room itself isn’t large. There was a big party next to us ordering a lot of food so occasionally we glanced over to see what they were eating.
We ordered lighter dishes at this dinner but they were still wonderful. We started with a kale and apple salad with wheat berries, Toome cheese from Marcoot, and butternut squash. I told my boyfriend that it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had and I wasn’t lying. A good salad should make you forget that you’re eating salad, and this one accomplished that.
We both got grouper with okra, corn, and tomato succotash and spoon bread, which is like a cornbread casserole. I was initially wary of ordering fish but it ended up being delicious. Farmhaus sources the freshest fish and you can tell when you’re enjoying a seafood dish there. The grouper was light and flavorful and made me believe for a brief few minutes that we were close to the ocean.
Dessert was the best part of the meal. We decided on crème brûlée with summer berry compote. It was as good as crème brûlées I ate while I was living in France. The top crust was caramelized and delicate and the custard below was rich, sweet, and satisfying. The berries added some tang and balanced out the sweetness. I wish I could eat another one right now.If you’re in St. Louis, I’d highly recommend checking out Farmhaus for dinner. You’ll probably want to save it for a special occasion because dinner is on the pricey side, but trust me, it’s worth it. The service is excellent and the food is fresh and flavorful. You can tell that the chef puts thought into every dish and uses the best seasonal ingredients. I can’t wait to stop by again soon and see what he’s cooking up this time.