A Lovely Lunch at Farmstead Restaurant in Wine Country

The secret to this fabulous chicken at Farmstead Restaurant? Grilling it with a brick on top.

In Wine Country, the options for lunching are practically endless.

One place certainly not to miss is Farmstead Restaurant at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, where Executive Chef Sheamus Feeley turns out lusty, farm-fresh food.

Recently, I had a chance to lunch as a guest of the restaurant, which is housed in a soaring barn that’s been done up in rustic-chic with polished wood tables, a rough granite bar, farm implements turned into contemporary light fixtures and glass milk bottles holding sprays of wild flowers.

The restaurant is housed in a former barn.

It’s a restaurant you can saunter into in jeans or shorts, and park yourself for a good long while.

That’s because you won’t want to stop eating.

You won't want to share these. You'll want to eat them all yourself.

Start with the housemade rolls that arrive warm from the oven in a cute little cast-iron pan. Smeared with cultured butter and topped with a sprinkle of crunchy, flaky Maldon salt, the rolls are sweet and fluffy like Parker House ones, only made moister with Russet potatoes. Psst, the rolls are free, but you have to ask for them.  So, do make the request.

The restaurant gets much of produce, as well as its beef, from its sister property, the 650-acre Long Meadow Ranch. My husband and I shared an arugula salad that tasted like it had just been picked from the farm ($13). Juicy orange segments, Redwood Hills feta, lavender fried almonds and a zippy apple cider vinaigrette made for one lovely bowl of textures with a wake-me-up flavor.

Arugula with juicy citrus and salty feta.

My husband couldn’t resist the muffaletta sandwich ($15) piled high with soppressata, bierwurst, olive salad and jersey milk cheese on more exquisite bread. A side of crunchy coleslaw helped cut through the richness of this sammy.

A he-man of a muffaletta.

As for me, I had to go with the chicken dish that’s been available at the restaurant since it opened a year ago and which Feeley says his customers will never let him take off the menu.

It’s easy to see why. The chicken ($24) is pit-grilled with a brick on top of it to make it cook more evenly. The result is a smoky bird with crisp skin, incredibly moist flesh and the sweet,  earthy flavors of paprika and oregano. It’s served on a bed of creamy flageolet beans, lacinato kale and salsa verde — truly, the perfect accompaniment.

The best part? The chicken is a cinch to replicate at home.

Learn how by reading my story, which includes Chef Feeley’s recipe, at ViaMagazine.com.

More Places to Dine in the Napa Valley: Michael Chiarello’s Bottega

And: Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc

And: Award-Winning Ubuntu

And: Fish Story

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Date: Wednesday, 13. April 2011 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Restaurants

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12 comments

  1. 1

    I hate to admit this in writing, but I often judge a restaurant on what they do with their rolls. Not that I fill up on them, but I know it’s going to be a good dinner if the rolls look warm, unusual and homemade. And this fits the bill.
    You’re so lucky to have so many restaurants in your area…keep the reviews coming!

  2. 2

    I have heard they have a really good breakfast, but I had not thought of them for lunch. Lunch at many of these places is sometimes a much better experience and not as expensive.

  3. 3

    That chicken certainly looks heavenly but it’s really the rolls that make me want to go there. Although why do you have to ask for them if they’re free? That seems weird.

  4. 4

    Hungry Dog: My guess is that’s because so many folks are gluten-free or on no-carb diets these days. The restaurant probably doesn’t want to give them out if they’re not really going to be eaten. And I can’t blame them for that reasoning.

  5. 5

    They do not serve breakfast. They are open for lunch and dinner only. But it would be great if they did…

  6. 6

    When I first saw the picture of the rolls I thought they were a plate of oranges! LOL. I often bypass the bread basket too at restaurants, mostly because it’s filling and I don’t want to waste the bread that just sits there. So I can see why restaurants don’t bring it automatically. But with something as special like this, seems like the waiter should at least “suggest” it so the table as the option and won’t forget to ask. :)

  7. 7

    Everything looks so delish. I can see how taking the chicken off the menu would cause mass riots. ;)

  8. 8

    the salad looks divine and the little cast iron pan is so cute!! thanks for sharing this wonderful place!!
    sweetlife

  9. 9

    Ahhhh!! I love Muffalettas, and I rarely see them on the menu in San Diego! Looks deeelicious. :)

  10. 10

    Such a lovely lunch, those little buns look so scrumptious!

  11. 11

    I love grilled chicken coz of the smoky charred flavour and best of not as many calories as fried chicken.

  12. 12

    you made the right choice with what you ordered–it sounds like it’d be exactly what i’d pick! flageolet beans–so rarely seen, yet so darn tasty!

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