Slow it down
Farmhaus8230 Auburn Folsom Rd.
Granite Bay, CA 95746
Good for: well-made food with fresh ingredients
Notable dishes: pastrami fries, BLT
In these days of Instagram and food porn, attractive food is a must for restaurants. How it tastes is subjective, based on the experience of the eater. But how it’s served can elevate a burger to fine-dining status or seemingly relegate the finest handpicked heirloom vegetable to fast-food quality.
Eating out is just as much about the experience as the flavor.
Farmhaus, a bright little spot off the busy Auburn Folsom Road, has plenty of flavorful food from Chef Michael John, but the eating experience practically overwhelms it.
Open since January 2014, Farmhaus has a thoughtfully decorated interior. Farm implements and whitewashed wood give nods to the “farm” aesthetic. A roomy patio out back doubles the seating.
During a recent lunch, the chicken salad sandwich was well-crafted with chunks of meat and butternut squash, though pricey, at $12 with no sides.
The Haus Bowl, a generous helping of chicken, beans, jalapeño and rice, topped by a tangle of ultra-thin slices of cabbage, was well balanced.
However, it was so cold inside that we shivered through the meal and so loud that we could hardly converse. We skipped dessert entirely to go outside and thaw.
Luckily, we did enjoy the house-smoked pastrami fries, though. This is the kind of dish a kitchen makes at the end of the night with odds and ends but tons of awesomeness. Perfectly browned fries get layered with shards of smoky pastrami, cheese, grainy mustard and cool bursts of cherry tomatoes.
For brunch, both the phone message and the server told us that they don’t take reservations for less than six people. Come Sunday, though, parties of three waltzed to their tables while the rest of us cooled our heels and stared at empty tables.
Then, the hilarity commenced. Could our server tell us about the honey bun latte? “No, I don’t really know what that is. Ha ha,” he said. Did he find out for us? Nope.
Curiously, other tables got platters of charcuterie with plates to share and explanations of the selections. Did we? Nope. Well, we did get the platter, but not until our entrees arrived as well.
We ordered (regular) lattes with our “includes coffee and tea” $25 brunch. Did the server tell us there was an extra charge for those? Nope.
Was the food good? Yes. The omelette of the day, with chorizo, caramelized onions, apples and goat cheese was a wonder of cool vs. warm and spicy vs. sweet. Crunchy paprika-dusted home fries rounded out the plate.
French toast with fresh berries was nicely toothsome, if somewhat shy of custard. A minute longer in the egg soak would have upped its enjoyment. For $16, three pieces of toast and some berries turned out to be a bit disappointing, though. Oh, right—we had that charcuterie to eat alongside!
Their BLT is a nice variation of the classic, with a basil aioli, bacon that wasn’t too crunchy or greasy and fresh avocado along with the nicely ripe tomato. Sides for $25 and plain brewed coffee included? Nope.
Again, we didn’t make it to dessert, but this time because the server dropped our check without asking if we wanted more. Too bad, because a salted caramel brownie was tempting.
Owner Madeleine Faeith owns Coffee Plus in Citrus Heights, and may have the quick-serve philosophy in mind with this venture, but it doesn’t work here. For entrees that go up to $34 at dinner and artfully crafted food, customers should get a better dining experience. Slower, more attention to detail and servers that know how to wait tables in a restaurant with silverware.