The slogan at Farmhouse Kitchen reads, “just-good-food,” and can be seen on everything from printed napkin rings to employee T-shirts. It derives from executive chef Matthew Danaher’s menu, which reportedly uses seasonal, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. It also reflects owner Gary Rack’s desire to create a restaurant concept that embraces an unpretentious lifestyle offering guilt-free, satisfying cuisine.
In May, Farmhouse Kitchen opened its second location, in Delray Beach. Previously, the space was home to Fat Rooster, another Rack-owned restaurant that served traditional Southern fare. The success of the original Farmhouse Kitchen in Boca Raton led to Fat Rooster’s being replaced with a healthier, vegetable-focused concept. (Rack also owns Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar in Delray Beach and Racks Downtown Eatery + Tavern in Boca Raton.)
On a recent, rainy Thursday evening, the Delray Beach restaurant was jumping. Atlantic Avenue has a way of drawing crowds regardless of time or weather, and only a few damp patio tables remained unoccupied.
The rural décor involves distressed wood floors, reproductions of vintage tin signs and Mason jars filled with pickled vegetables and spice mixtures. The bar seats about 20, and a row of three booths lines the open kitchen, where I witnessed a staffer violating a basic rule of restaurant etiquette by eating in view of customers. This should never happen.
We took a seat under airconditioning vents, and began to feel a steady drip. A sweet and accommodating hostess took charge, found a step stool and cleaned up the condensation.
Our server presented us with 204 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach 561-266-3642, FarmhouseKitchenDelray.com Cuisine: Farm to table Cost: Moderate Hours: Lunch and dinner seven days; weekend brunch Reservations: Not accepted Credit cards: All major Bar: Full Sound level: Conversational Outside smoking: No Wheelchair accessible: Yes Parking: Street, pay lots two menus. The smaller menu included a list of 20 vegetable, grain and potato sides, a vegetarian’s delight. We started with grilled artichoke ($12), served with a spring-onion remoulade. When mixed with the garnish of shaved fennel, watermelon radish and sunflower sprouts, the dipping sauce created a delicious slaw. I appreciated the clean, trimmed, ready-to-eat heart. Who wants to deal with fuzz from a choke?
On the regular dinner menu, the grilled chicken wings ($13) with fennel, pine nuts, capers and grapes sounded like a fresh alternative to the norm. The smokiness from grilling with a touch of sweetness from a marinade made a tasty combination. But two ingredients that attracted us, pine nuts and capers, never made it to the plate, though chia seeds did. Crushed avocado toast ($9) with kale pesto served on a smear of herbed ricotta and garnished with sunflower sprouts, watermelon radish and chile threads was the first appetizer to disappear. It was clean and full of flavor. Zesty florets of Buffalo-style cauliflower ($10) could be vegetarians’ answer to wings. Paired with an herby bleu cheese sauce and topped with toasted, slivered almonds and sprouts, it all seemed to work.
A choice of five salads ($10-$14) starts with organic greens and
Crushed avocado toast with kale pesto at Farmhouse Kitchen in Delray Beach.
The warm brownie with mixed berries..