Well, HELLO GORGEOUS. See, here’s the deal: people think all I do is go around shitting on restaurants. While on the surface this may be true, the foundation for this activity is the simple fact my standards are higher than yours. I come from the old school where people dress for dinner and wine is opened properly and kitchen or service blunders are based on something far more serious than can be waved off with an apology and comped dessert. There is a very simple formula for pleasing me at the table, and it is based 100% on fundamentals. Fundamentals angry Yelpers have no concept of, having never been on either side of the pass. They are willing to give any place which will allow their flip-flops and cargo-shorts access glorious, gravy-covered praises, but as soon as something seems stuffy, or expensive, or paced, discomfort ensues. I am merely the opposite. It’s very simple. And I am pleased at restaurants on a regular basis. In point: the new FARMSTEAD KITCHEN in Paso Robles.
When I heard Panolivo was closing, I was crushed, having enjoyed many meals there–and more-so their concept–for over a decade. When I heard a catering company was opening in their location, I pretty much forgot about it until walking by one day stopped in to see the menu and decided right then and there to dine here at my nearest opportunity. It came soon enough and with it a dining experience perfectly in keeping with all my standards.
The Mediterranean Sampler was not merely hummus and pita, but baba ganoush, feta, tabbouleh and olives. The duck confit strudel with arugula and cherry sauce was not only a sight to behold but nobody could keep their forks out of it. Same went for the Maple Leaf Duck Duo, packed with breast and thigh meat, kale and couscous, in more of the flaky crust but with a cardamom sauce.
All of the main courses showed the same sort of ingredient possibility, flavor integration and perfect presentation–all without being weird. See, now THIS is meat & potatoes done RIGHT. The wine list contained not only identifiable favorites, but edgy micro-production bottles from the far corners of Paso. It was so difficult to choose just one–much like the entrees. You know the feeling: You stare at a menu of 8 boring things trying to decide which you want to accept as dinner, OR: you internally battle with all your senses trying to narrow down your choice between wanting ALL OF IT. This is the Farmstead menu.
Roasted Quail, Pan-seared Black Cod with bok choy, Seafood and sausage in Penne, more Duck, Lamb lollipops, Stuffed chicken and game, endless selections of consterning decisions all presented in perfect timing and order in easily THE BEST SERVICE in SLO County only a few other dining destinations are capable of. I was so impressed with–so gleeful at how perfect it was, so excited there ARE still restaurants capable of the sort of service which gets perfect scores from me. It had been SO long. Perfect timing. Perfect hovering. Perfect order. Perfect wine service. No chatter, no strangers, no hesitation, no conversational or water-awkwardness–just perfect service. I know this is not high on most people’s lists around here–WHY DO I SAY THAT??? BECAUSE: IF IT WERE, 95% of the restaurants in SLO county would be SHUT DOWN if people stood up and DEMANDED real service–the kind of service that is taken for granted in SF or LA or any other major town. I know the kind of names I will get called for posting a rant like this but seriously, people: the kind of service you all put up with from restaurants around here makes me weep. From places which are named TOP RESTAURANT year after year after year. Fortunately, places like FARMSTEAD KITCHEN still think service is a priority.
Stay tuned as I re-write my TOP 5 San Luis Obispo County list. It will be forthcoming and Farmstead will be on it. So happy this place exists. A proud moment for a proud location–and Paso as a whole.