Today’s post is about a unique dining experience I had this week at Farmhaus. Farmhaus is one of the premier farm-to-table restaurants in St. Louis. For one night only, they had their “Nose to Tail” dinner. It focused on the lesser used parts of the pig.
First course: Amuse. I preferred the crostini to the cornbread but both were good. The lardo was still pretty cold so it was a little hard to spread but had lots of flavor.
Bread and Butter. House cured lardo, cornbread, crostini
2nd course: Charcuterie. My favorite of the 3 was the coppa romana. I LOVED the spiciness. The pig ear was a little chewy but added texture when combined with the tender tongue. I also enjoyed the house made pickles.
Porchetta di testa (right), coppa (middle), tongue and ear terrine (left).
3rd course: Green Bay salad or “Because We Had to Have a Salad”. As you can tell by the picture, shadows were becoming an issue later in the night. Maybe it was the wine pairing as well. 🙂 I loved the fried cheese curds. The breading was light and let the cheese be the focus. The braunschweiger was of a higher quality than I remembered eating as a child. You have to appreciate liver to enjoy it. I practically licked the plate clean.
House Braunschweiger, fried cheese curds, pork croutons, smoked egg salad dressing
4th course: Reuben. This sandwich was fantastic. The pastrami had some chew to it being made from the pig’s heart. The house made rye was nicely toasted. The 1000 island dressing was a great accompaniment. I liked it being served on the slaw so you could add (or not) to the sandwich to taste. At this point this was my favorite dish.
Pig heart pastrami, smoked rye bread, house 1000 island dressing
5th course: Pork Belly. However, after the first bite of this dish I had a new favorite! This dish had so much depth. The yin and yang of the ingredients hit all the key elements. You had sweet (corn / melon), salty (pork belly), and spicy (green beans). The contrast of the cold melon served on top of the hot belly. The crispy pork belly skin compared to the smooth fatty rest of the belly. This dish had it all. I eat pork belly every chance I get and this was one of the best I have sampled.
Pork Belly. Spicy pickled green beans, creamed corn
6th course: Crostata. This was the dish that was the most talked about with my co-workers. No one could understand how pig liver could work in caramel. Even at the event, the chef de cuisine shared how they thought the pastry chef was nuts for suggesting it. From what they said, it took several iterations to develop the version we tasted. I appreciate that effort because it was well worth it. This was a dish I woke up still thinking about this morning.
Crostata- local peaches, buttermilk ice cream, pig liver caramel
7th course: Black pudding. As one guest questioned, “is this what I think it is?” Yes, it contains blood. I liked the presentation with the tulie covering up the black pudding and suspending the meringue. My inner child liked that I got to smash something. The richness of the meringue and the slightly mineral twinge of the chocolate pudding were a lot for some to handle.
Black pudding. Burnt orange meringue, walnut tuile
This was a very exciting night for an adventurous eater like myself. I appreciate the chances that Farmhaus and its’ chefs took with the menu and the event. Most of my co-workers thought I was nuts as they heard about this event. Although that may be a fair assessment of me in general, there was nothing crazy about the Nose to Tail dinner. It was well thought out and executed in every detail. I hope they schedule more events like this in the future.
Dive 2 Five Scale: A solid 4. Although Farmhaus has a very minimalist approach to decorating their restaurant, the experience is top-notch. From the server’s knowledge and excitement of the menu to the preparation and attention to detail throughout the service. A great place to celebrate a special night with an amazing meal in a lively environment.