Phantom Gourmet: The Farmhouse In Needham
NEEDHAM – The farmers grow it, harvest it, and raise it; and all you have to do is it eat it, at The Farmhouse.
The cozy corner restaurant is located on Great Plain Avenue in Needham. For Dora Tavel-Sanchez Luz and her husband Gabrielle, serving food straight from the farm is a family tradition.
“The idea came from our farmhouse in Maine,” Dora said. “It’s a family farm that my mom bought in 1973 with her brothers and her sister. All food always tasted more delicious when we were up there. My husband and I were working towards for the last 10 years, and dream come true. We got enough money, opened the doors, and we’re doing great.”
“My favorite kind of food is just very simple, very flavorful, taking New England style dishes and trying to really nail them.”
And nail it they definitely do. There’s crispy-skinned, Free Range Chicken with baby carrots and white asparagus; slow-braised Short Ribs over homemade Pappardelle pasta; and an ultra-fresh Beet Salad with goat cheese, grapefruit and pistachios.
“People that say they hate beets have our beet salad, and they’re like ‘I love beets. I love your beet salad. What did you do?’ And I’m like ‘I don’t know, they’re really good beets!’”
The atmosphere at the Farmhouse is simultaneously rustic and elegant, decked with restored and reclaimed wooden tables, chairs, and service stations.
To start your meal with some tasty snacks, order up the golden white wine Arancini, addictive Fried Pickles with buttermilk ranch dressing, or a bag full of warm, crispy Potato Chips.
“Our homemade chips are very flavorful,” said Tavel-Sanchez Luz. “We take Yukon potatoes, slice them on the mandolin, then we put them in the fryer here, season them and then after that we serve them in a little, mini brown lunch bag. Super, super crunchy, just delicious. They put you in a good mood.”
To make you smile even more, there are exceptional Characuterie boards, extra-plump Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, and incredibly creamy Burrata cheese with Roasted Peaches and basil oil.
“When the flavors all marry and you taste the herb oil with the balsamic, with the sweetness; and then you have the creaminess of the cheese; sort of tart but sweet of the peaches. You could have it for dessert. You could have it to begin. You could have it as a midnight snack. It’s really, really good.”
Some other signature dishes include perfectly Seared Scallops with exotic mushrooms and purple cauliflower puree, and a Rib Eye that Dora and Chef Gabrielle are determined to make one of the best steaks in Greater Boston.
“It’s the Farmhouse! Of course you have to have a steak that’s really memorable,” Dora said. “I want people to leave and be like ‘That’s the best steak I ever had.’”
“Rib eye is Creek Stone; it’s like butter. You know, you’re starting with a really, really good product and we just season it, pan-sear it. We serve it with cippolini onions, mashed potatoes, and a really delicious red wine reduction.”
When it comes time for dessert, kids of all ages enjoy the old fashioned Butterscotch Pudding. And you can feel comfortable bringing children here, because even the menu is a family affair.
“My daughter Sophie and my son John Marco they designed the whole kids menu.”
“My favorite is pasta with butter,” John Marco declared.
“My favorite is probably… peanut butter and Fluff,” Sophie said.
As for the grown-ups who like to sit at the Farmhouse bar, they could be in for a nice surprise – if they happen to sit down at the right stool on the right night.
“We have tickets that we put under barstools, and if you happen to sit at one of those barstools you win tickets. We have tickets to Celtics games. We have tickets to different things. They leave so happy they’re like ‘Oh my god! I came in for olives and a drink! And I’m leaving with tickets to this awesome show!’”
Even if you don’t win the barstool sweepstakes, you’ll walk away with a satisfied, farm-fresh feeling.
“I was outside walking in the building the other night and I heard three guests leave and they said, ‘That was so good. And I don’t feel like weighed down and full. I just feel really good.’ That was like the best compliment I could hear.”
You can find The Farmhouse at 970 Great Plain Ave. in Needham, or online at thefarmhouseneedham.com.
Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.
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