Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Farm-to-tavern fare at Farmhouse Tavern

Posted By on 09.19.12 at 11:23 AM

Farmhouse Tavern
  • Farmhouse Tavern
Every once in a while, after a series of bad or just mediocre dining experiences, I wonder if I've become too cranky and the problem is not the restaurants, but me. Maybe too-small, not-quite-good-enough dishes have become the norm, I'll think, and I should just get used to it. Places like Farmhouse Tavern, though, restore my faith in restaurants (and, just as importantly, in myself).

The concept isn't exactly groundbreaking: seasonal, farm-to-table food with a local focus that extends to its beer, wine, and cocktail menus. It is, however, well executed—and that makes all the difference. An heirloom tomato salad was lightly dressed and sprinkled with tiny bits of bacon and blue cheese that complemented the tomato's flavors rather than overwhelming them. Lightly fried cheese curds, served with house-made smoked ketchup, weren't too heavy. And half a roasted chicken was perfect with buttermilk-and-blue-cheese "smashed potatoes" (we couldn't quite finish off the meat, but did eat every bit of the crispy skin). After all that food there was no question of dessert, but I intend to go back soon and try the blueberry-lemon curd with shortbread crisps and toasted meringue.

When I do, I'll probably take another whack at their extensive beer menu, which boasts 28 on tap, plus another 60-odd in bottles (and the liquor selection ain't bad either, especially the gin list). The beers include Jolly Pumpkin Weizen Bam, Arcadia B-Craft Black IPA, and Three Floyds Zombie Dust, not to mention a three-liter bottle of St. Feuillien Triple for $150.

Farmhouse Tavern, 228 W. Chicago, 312-280-4960, farmhousechicago.com

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