Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dinner at The Farm

I frequently find myself having really good food in a restaurant I haven't been to for years and thinking, "We need to come here more often." Though, like everyone else, we're trying to cut back on those outside expenses, once in awhile there are friends to meet or people in from out of town or we just need to get out and try something different.

Case in point: A small group of women, who have been meeting since our kids were in middle school together, wanted to have dinner. Since they're also all terrific cooks, the food needed to be good but not expensive. Fortunately for us, there is a plethora of places on the east side (where we all live) that meets this criteria. After tossing out a few names, we decided to go to The Farm, a little spot I'd been to and liked a couple of years ago on one of those "I don't feel like cooking" nights.

William's baked brie.

Located in a tiny remodeled Victorian just off busy East Burnside, the four of us got a table in what had been a parlour and ordered drinks from their nicely chosen cocktail list. As appetizers we chose roasted garlic (photo, top) and a baked brie with roasted hazelnuts and honey, a recipe popularized by the long-defunct William's on Twelfth. Both were incredible, the roasted garlic perfectly caramelized and tender, the little cloves popping from their wrappers like little buttery fish, and the brie oozing and luscious, begging to be spread on the attendant crispy baguette slices.

Goat cheese on baby greens.

Entrées for the table tended toward the green, with three of us ordering (respectively), the seafood salad mounded with lots of fresh scallops, crab and shrimp; a pear-arugula salad with Rogue Creamery's amazing Oregonzola and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts; and then breaded goat cheese rounds fried and set atop baby greens with a caper vinaigrette. Sounds mouth-watering, right? Well, they were, indeed, not only lovely but the kitchen didn't skimp on the featured ingredients.

Farmhouse veggie burger.

The house burger, a veggie version, was also nicely done and surprisingly juicy and meaty. It was served on a rustic bun and came with caramelized onions and roasted red peppers to round out the smoky, savory quality of the sandwich. We also had a couple of desserts to finish, a cheesecake and a molten chocolate concoction topped with homemade maple ice cream, which were good but not, alas, inspired.

The bill for the evening was very reasonable considering what we'd ordered, and I swear that this time I won't wait so long to return.

Details: The Farm Cafe, 10 SE 7th Ave. Phone 503-736-3276.

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