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Restaurant Spotlight: Farmhouse

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Farmhouse is the restaurant my neighborhood, Chicago’s River North, had been hoping for. It filled a void. It has excellent food, one of the cities best craft beer selections, and the friendliest restaurant staff. I love this place. The atmosphere is rustic and cozy. It has a comfortable familiarity. It is a little hipster but not at all pretentious.

I recently read that the owners of Farmhouse thought people would come for the beer but stay for the food, but from the very beginning people loved the food. The menu changes regularly as it is based on food that is locally available.

My husband and I eat at Farmhouse somewhat regularly, so I have tried many of the items on the menu. I can report that the roast chicken and short rib are both excellent. The food at Farmhouse is rich hearty midwestern cooking. The entrees are what my father would consider a proper meal: meat, starch, and vegetable.

The word curd really bothers me. It doesn’t sound appetizing. I lived in Chicago for three years before I even tried a cheese curd. I finally caved at Farmhouse. Their Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds are wonderful. How would they not be? It is fried cheese. Farmhouse’s cheese curds are superior to others because they use excellent cheese, and come with homemade catsup. The are lightly fried, and lightly breaded, which clearly makes them lo-cal.

On this particular night I was running very late and my husband was stuck waiting for me. Which meant he ordered cheese curds and ate all of them before I made it there. Instead of ordering another order of the curds, we got macaroni and cheese. I do really like Farmhouse’s mac and cheese; they use great Wisconsin cheddar. The thing that bugs me is that they use pasta wheels. I think wheels look really cute, but the just don’t hold enough cheese. I wish they would use shells or a tubular pasta shape instead.

I ordered more pasta for my entree. I guess I was craving carbs. I work out 4 days a week, pretty intensely, and there are days when I just want carbs! Anyway, I ordered an egg noodle pasta with chicken and Brussels sprouts. It was a combination of several of my favorite foods. It also sounded a bit like a pasta dish at the Pump Room that was horribly executed and I had a feeling Farmhouse’s would be far superior. Perhaps pastas with Brussels sprouts is becoming a trend? The pasta was fresh, the Brussels sprouts were flavorful, the chicken was moist. There was just the right amount of cheesyness in the sauce. Pump Room could learn from this. Definitely something I would order again.

Charles had the steak. It was cooked to a perfect medium. I stole a bite.

We shared apple pie for dessert. It was just the right size for sharing. The pastry was flaky and the apple was tender and had the right combination of cinnamon and spices. It was topped with maple ice cream and caramel sauce.

I wish I could remember which beers we tried. The selection rotates and the waitstaff knows their stuff. I usually tell them a couple of my favorite beers and ask them to make a suggestion. They haven’t steered me wrong yet.

Farmhouse is right next to the Chicago brown line stop. It is a great place for drinks, dinner, or both. It is always busy, so I would recommend making a reservation.

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