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 Aug 3 - 9, 2017 
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Restaurant Review

Farm to Table at Farm & Table

A celebration, steeped in the agrarian history of the North Valley

By Hosho McCreesh

Rarely do we treat a meal as the pure delight and celebration of the senses it can be. Most of us can’t afford to dine like the well-heeled all the time, but occasionally savoring a few long hours over a wondrous meal is something we rarely regret. And when it comes to your next slow, capricious special event—be it dinner alone with a book and some wine, or a brunch with a table full of your closest revelers—I offer up Farm & Table for your consideration.

Reserve a table though—they’re always busy. On the comfy adobe patio, where the bubbling water features and North Valley birdsong are the soundtrack to the morning, you can dine while the sun climbs the New Mexico sky. Start with an Americano ($4), a sturdy, smoky roast that satisfies. Or maybe a Mexican coke ($3)—pure cane sugar and caffeine in the bottle! If you’re a it’s-happy-hour-somewhere type, then Bosque’s Elephants on Parade ($5.50) pours pink and happy from a smattering of local taps. And as a proponent of dessert before dining, I recommend the peach cream puff ($4) for starters. Its delicate, flaky puff pastry carries the slightest savory note, while the light, peach-scented cream center is just sweet enough to prevent overpowering the bite. The hibiscus jalapeño sorbet ($3), should that speak to you instead, is a bright red sorbet, definitely more flower than heat, so don’t fear the jalapeño—plus the pleasant surprise of pecans made for a delightful beginning.

The breakfast menu had choices a-plenty but I gambled on the special: a chorizo omelette ($14)—for me, the perfect chorizo is one that finds that exact spot between salty and smoky, with enough heat and spice to punch up the standard fare. This was exactly right. The caramelized onions carried a slight, sugary line through the balancing act of earthy Tucumcari cheddar, fluffy eggs and dense, rich bits of chorizo. It was finished with a microgreen that made for a great little hint of the herbaceous. It came with a side salad, though I’d take papitas or hash browns instead.

Enchiladas and eggs ($13) is the most traditional New Mexican breakfast on the menu, though executed with precision: layered corn tortillas and Tucumcari cheddar, topped by your choice of chile. We went Christmas, and found the red was smooth with the bite that’s just the right kind of bitter while the green was saucy and fresh, warm but nothing for timid diners to fret over. The plate was finished with some of the freshest pinto beans I’ve had in ages—again, traditional yet exact.

If you’re avoiding spicy, take the eggs Benedict with ham ($15). The hollandaise makes a Benedict for me, and too often folks go buck-wild with lemon. Not so at Farm & Table, whose sauce is thankfully long on the silky cream, and short on the citrus. The yolk of poached eggs, when mixed with the hollandaise, is a luscious, savory gravy. The sweet bread—akin to Hawaiian sweet rolls—was a surprise replacement for the standard English muffin. But it works. The ham was paper thin, and I could’ve stood thicker. On the side was a blend of flash-wilted baby spinach and purple cabbage, maybe a little onion—a simple, vibrant addition.

If it’s a dress-up dinner, set aside a couple hours and jump in to either the garlic-ginger pork belly ($13) or French onion soup ($6). The pork belly is three nice hunks of butter-smooth, chewy meat drenched in a deep, molassess-y reduction with the umami of bouillon. Each piece is topped with a cilantro leaf, a thin slice of jalapeño and a fresh bit of purple cabbage for an appetizer that definitely fires on all cylinders. So, too, with the soup. It’s a lighter veal stock than is typical—one that works perfectly with the season and the newer, smaller farm onions. I think they opt for white wine instead of sherry, and stone ground dijon mustard to add some love.

Pork chop
Pork chop
The bone-in pork chop ($28) is a thick, juicy chop with the perfect sear on it, just the right salt and slathered with a peach chipotle barbecue sauce—another knock-out. It comes with a panko-crusted au gratin potatoes layered with spinach, quick-pickled cabbage and a carrot puree that’s as tasty as it is beautiful. Take the chef’s recommendation of medium rare and expect a little pink near the bone.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s the Hudson Valley duck breast ($34) to consider—no easy choice! It’s rubbed in coffee and sumac, a brilliant spice combination. The mashed russet potatoes are smooth and creamy, and the green beans get a nice char before plating. There’s a cherry demi-glace—probably made with a Hudson Valley red—which lands perfectly between the bite of the coffee and the lemony-citrus of the sumac to make the warm, rich duck breast sing. I wouldn’t change a thing and am already looking forward to having it again.

Hudson Valley duck breast
Hudson Valley duck breast

Finish with their deconstructed s’more, the chocolate pecan torte ($8.50). The house-made marshmallow fluff alone is worth a try, while the gooey pecan and chocolate center rests on a graham cracker crust—all of which goes great with the last of your wine. Or the first of it, if you wisely had dessert first!

The only downside to great fine dining is price—though measured against the quality and charm, it’s no contest. It’s definitely upscale, with a seasonal menu, but still approachable enough for anyone’s special occasions—often a challenge when courting top dollar and tourists. Sunup or sundown, you’ll discover delicious surprises across the board, exacting detail to every dish and rejoice in remembering just how lovely a celebratory meal can be.

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Farm & Table

8917 Fourth Street NW
(505) 503-7124
farmandtablenm.com
Hours: Sat-Sun 9am-2pm, Tue-Sat 5-9pm
Vibe: Approachable if upscale, a slice of Santa Fe-chic in the agrarian-steeped history of the North Valley
Alibi Recommends: Reservations and an appetite; It’s all solid, but the Hudson Valley duck breast is a must-have.
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