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Rostra rating: 4
We had already visited Farmhouse Kitchen once (see Farmhouse Kitchen: Finally a Competitor for Pok Pok). But despite all of the new restaurants we want to try, we couldn’t resist going back to Farmhouse for our 36th anniversary (hubba hubba). On top of some killer Thai dishes, the service issues we encountered on our first visit had been largely resolved. In particular the bar is now synchronized with the rest of the restaurant. So MagoGuide is officially raising Farmhouse’s rating to 4 rostras. Our notes on the meal follow:
Larb tuna: Esan style diced fresh Maguro tuna, green onion, cilantro, dill, long coriander, dehydrated chili served with sour mango and wonton chips. A tour de force Thai tuna tartar with Thai tortilla chips. The intense multilayered spice profile threatens to, but does not completely, mute the robust flavor of the tuna itself. Sour notes from the mango perform gymnastics on the palate while the burn walks right up to the line (at least for TeamMago, there is a very nice condiment tray just chuck full of capsaicinoids for the heat obsessed). This is great drinking food. They need to bring their A game down at Whisky Soda Lounge from now on.
Crispy calamari: curry battered Monterrey squid, spicy pepper, and cilantro lime sauce. Devine curried crunchitude meets killer coriander dipping sauce. I did not expect to like the Farmhouse version of fried squid, but I really, really did. The batter was half hearted in its adherence, but it came out of the fryolator deep brown and delicious. The large chunks of squidless batter fried up so nice that they were a great compliment to the squid and almost a separate ingredient. It may be that people who have a strong aversion to cilantro are genetically predisposed to find it bitter and/or rotten. They should avoid the vibrant green dipping sauce brimming with unsaturated aldehydes that constituted a perfect citrusy foil to the crunchy chewy squid. More great drinking food.
Chinese broccoli in house xo sauce. Oh but I do like that xo, a salty sweet umami broth with a hit of respectable but not overpowering heat. It pairs exquisitely with the pleasantly mild vegetal flavor and barely cooked crunch of the whacked up broccoli. You might want to get some steamed rice with this dish, so you can utilize the xo sauce to maximum effect.
Tom yum noodle soup with assorted seafood: salmon, calamari, shrimp, scallops, egg noodles in spicy & sour broth, spinach, broccoli, bean sprouts, cilantro, green onion, peanuts, house garlic oil and crispy wontons. The salmon jerky absolutely made this dish. Unless you washed up from a shipwreck at Cannon Beach and hitched into southeast Portland, splitting this dish is a good idea. It amounts to about a liter of fish stock with a pound of shelled seafood and noodles (ours had lots and lots of scallops). This is also your chance to punish the condiment trolly. While the lack of shells makes this dish a lot easier to eat, culinary convenience may well explain the medium strength fish stock, which is improved by customizing its heat level with one or more of the six forms of molecular acid on offer.
Bottom line… we can’t wait to go back.