Mall food: farmer on site at Farmhouse, joys of gin and more

| April 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Farmhouse is at 8500 Beverly Blvd.

Does anyone not know the episode from the Independent Film Channel (IFC) series “Portlandia” where a dining couple, concerned about the provenance of a chicken dish, ask increasingly detailed questions of their waitress, revealing that “Colin” was a heritage breed raised on four acres at a local organic farm, and was fed only sheep’s milk, soy, and hazelnuts?

The newly opened Farmhouse restaurant in the Beverly Center goes one step further in assuring the bona fides of its sourcing: they have an executive farmer on staff. Nathan Peitso is a second-generation farmer from Kenter Canyon Farms, and his role is to work directly with farmers and to create menus where the dishes served can be traced from seed to plate. Yes, we have become that obsessed.

I went to the grand opening, with a red-carpet entrance and where seemingly every “influencer” in Southern California was invited. It was so crowded with Instagramming social media mavens that it was difficult to assess the space. Wriggling around the edges of the crowd, I found Farmhouse to be both rustic and beautiful, carved into two main spaces, with a giant fireplace and artfully stacked logs at the ready.

A steady stream of sample-sized versions of regular menu items circulated throughout the cavernous space — most of them excellent. Greatest hits included roasted carrots with harissa and avocado, giant oysters bathed in Fresno chile-lime butter, creamy cauliflower soup with pepitas, tender braised lamb shoulder with carrot-saffron romesco, spaghetti cacio e pepe, and sausage and broccolini pizza. The oysters in particular were unctuous and delicious: fresh, sweet, and barely warmed, the flavored butter added a pop and zing. The carrots’ concentrated flavor reminded me how lucky we are to have great produce in our state, something with which Farmer Peitso would certainly agree. On the regular menu, the carrots are $14, oysters $15 for three, soup $9, lamb $27, spaghetti $15, pizza $18. Full bar.

Farmhouse, 8500 Beverly Blvd., Ste. 113, 310-818-4925,

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Westfield Century City’s Eataly is now complete with the addition of its Italian rooftop restaurant, Terra. Dedicated to bringing out the earthiness of each ingredient through the art of grilling, the centerpiece of the indoor/outdoor space is a giant wood-burning grill which Executive Chef Eli Anderson helms with authority. Almond wood and mesquite perfume spears of mutton, heritage pork and Angus beef. Served nicely charred, six are $12. Generously-sized $42 succulent lamb chops are swathed in a pomegranate reduction. Eight dollar asparagus, $10 fennel or $10 mushrooms all benefit from the kiss of flame. A $14 whole artichoke cooked on the plancha is leagues ahead of the typical steamed treatment. The $95 deeply satisfying 30-ounce wet-aged porterhouse is rubbed in porcini dust and sized for sharing.

Outside diners are treated to a fabulous view of the surrounding hills, both from the covered terrace, which has regular table seating and enjoys the full menu, and from the nibbles-only al fresco area with separate bar, lounge seating, and a fire pit. Interestingly, in addition to the expected excellent Italian wine list, Terra is also dedicated to the joys of gin, offering over 45 brands from all over the world, including Holland, the Philippines, and seven U.S. states. One could do a lot worse than sitting by the fire pit, enjoying the glittering lights, munching a bit of grilled meat, an Argentinean gin and tonic garnished with grapefruit and eucalyptus in hand.

Terra, Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., 213-310-8000,

By Helene Seifer

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Category: Entertainment

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