I knew I’d love Farmshop long before I officially sat down for a meal there. Jeff Cerciello, the restaurant’s “Culinary Director,” spent thirteen years with the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group and most notably assisted with the launch and operation of Ad Hoc, one of my favorite restaurants of all time. We’re talking about the man who brought fried chicken nights to Yountville, folks!
With Farmshop, Chef Cerciello draws inspiration from Ad Hoc’s concept, style, and philosophy. Top-notch ingredients are sourced locally, service is efficient and professional, and the mood is calm and casual. At the moment, the restaurant only serves breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. However, as soon as their long-awaited liquor license comes through, dinner service (and weekly fried chicken feasts!) will commence. I cannot wait.
I met up with my friends Diana and Danny for brunch here one Sunday a few weekends ago. We were seated promptly at a table fit for four. Diana and I snagged seats along the plush and velvety turquoise banquette that stretched along the dining room. I usually don’t pay much mind to interiors, but the banquette’s unusual fabric and color demanded my attention in this situation.
Danny and I were famished by the time we arrived in Santa Monica, so we decided to share two appetizers and two mains. To start, an order of deviled eggs ($8) with smoked Idaho trout, upland cress, and tarragon. The smoky fish added a whirl of interest to the rich and creamy yolks.
While we liked the deviled eggs very much, it was the chicken livers that we absolutely adored ($12). The spread was topped with a fistful of chives and a drizzle of olive oil, and served with poached and pickled grapes, caper berries, and toasted sourdough. The livers’ texture was luxuriously smooth, while the flavors were all soul and no metal.
Our main courses arrived just as we finished off the last of the liver pudding. The platter of pastrami and eggs ($17.50) was straight-up phenomenal. The slices of pastrami were well-seasoned and superbly smokey; the caramelized fatty edges were my favorite. Served atop the pastrami were snappy asparagus, hen of the wood mushrooms, and an intriguing green tomato ketchup.
The sunny-side up eggs served to the side were perfectly fried—the whites were just set, while the yolks were still runny. As if that weren’t enough goodness, two slices of toast and a generous pat of butter came on a separate plate. Oh, Lord this was good.
The French toast ($14) matched the pastrami and eggs point for point on the awesome scale. The thick slices of egg battered toast came topped with macerated strawberries, creme fraiche, and crushed pistachios; maple syrup was served in a small vessel on the side. Everyone at the table agreed that Farmshop’s specimen was a perfectly balanced and expertly executed French toast. And best of all, two slices of thick and smoky Hobbs’ bacon were served on the side.
Farmshop, why are you so far away from me?
225 26th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90402