Thursday, August 16, 2012

farmhaus (3) - st. louis, mo
3257 ivanhoe avenue
st. louis, mo 63139

after neglecting farmhaus for over a year despite the success of our first meal there, carrie and i decided to make our long overdue return to chef kevin willmann's acclaimed restaurant.
cocktails to begin.

hack-attack - the big o ginger liqueur, camus cognac, sparkling white wine

all i see is gold - house infused peach vodka, o'fallon wheach beer, ginger ale, mint
our first dish was the summer salad, made with grilled corn, okra, sweet peppers, cucumbers, roasted beets, zucchini, squash, hearts of palm, grilled eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, baetje farms fresh goat’s milk cheese, muscat vin, and lavash. the salad was first presented in a jar with the large lavash crisp on top before being dumped onto the plate by our server. this was mostly a great salad with each ingredient being fresh and tasty. i particularly enjoyed the tomatoes and the red peppers. unfortunately the salad was marred somewhat by a chemically bitter flavor experienced in a few bites.
next up was a dish i knew i had to try the second i saw the description. here we have the heuvo ranchero which was described on the menu as a local farm egg with house chorizo, fire roasted tomatillo sauce, and crema. although i was a bit surprised when the dish arrived at the table as it was not quite what i was expecting, this turned out to be the dish of the night. basically a riff on scotch egg, this was a boiled egg coated with chorizo and fried.
following the egg was berkshire porchetta served on steamed buns with cabbage kimchi. this was actually my first time eating kimchi and while i wouldn't say that i disliked it i will certainly approach it with caution in the future as its potency was a bit much for me after a few small bites. as for the buns and porchetta...decent but not overly exciting.
moving on to larger plates, i went for the dry aged ribeye grilled over a slow fire with smashed sweet and yukon gold potatoes, corn, and a house made steak sauce. when our server was initially explaining the menu to us he noted that the ribeye was a full sized entree rather than a "small plate" like the rest of the menu. even after the warning i was surprised at the size of the steak when the plate was set before me. while i did enjoy the ribeye, it was a quick reminder of why i no longer have much interest in steakhouses as it was simply too much of the same thing. if i could go back in time i would have ordered two more small plates instead.
carrie's entree was one of chef willmann's always present menu staples, the bacon wrapped meatloaf with sweet and yukon gold smashed potatoes, sous vide pearl onions, and a tomato-merlot reduction.
pecan pie with root beer ice cream. this was a very solid dessert with the pie being stellar and the ice cream encompassing the very essence of root beer.
lastly was a corn cake with popcorn ice cream and a white chocolate crunch bar. although the popcorn ice cream was not as successful as the root beer offering this was still a nice dessert with my favorite component being the white chocolate crunch bar.

overall, this was a good meal but did not quite live up to the memory of our first visit. aside from the desserts, the only dish that really excited me was the riff on the scotch egg. i am very confident that we could have constructed a better meal had we ordered differently, but it would have meant repeating dishes that we had on our first visit (nachos, breakfast, escolar). i am sure we will be back to farmhaus for both dinner and to try another blue plate lunch, but honestly there are several other places i would rather revisit first.

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