Pig to Sausage, Tractor to Stove, Cow to Tableware, Cod to Chowder, Grape to Jug, and finally – Dundee’s Farm to Fork. The ONLY thing I’m not in love with is the name of Kendall and Paul de Lancellotti’s yummy restaurant. The possible pairings swim around in my head and I can’t remember which set is right.
Farm to Fork is farmer friendly. When they’re not dressed up for wine dinners, winemakers are hard working farmers. There’s a bar at the back where farm clothing (mostly well worn Carhartt) is acceptable attire. A few grape juice stains on the t-shirt are perfectly all right. Taking a break from the tractor, there’s usually several winemakers hanging out, grabbing some (excellent) coffee, eating lunch. Winemakers are notorious foodies – they’ve eaten everywhere and have very well educated palates. Farm to Fork is a winemaker hangout, and that’s says a lot about it.
Consistency from visit to visit will make me a loyal customer. Every time I’ve been there, Chef Paul Bachand is on his game. And every time I’ve been there he’s been cooking. Even on a Monday at lunch time, he made my meal. As much as delicious food attracts diners, I’ll return again and again to a restaurant that I can depend on for consistent quality. So far, Farm to Fork’s is great.
The food is clearly made from scratch. There’s a lot of great raw materials in and around Dundee (it is farm country, after all – not just wineries). Local farmers have caught on to the fact that there’s money to be made by growing organic veggies, free range chickens, and such. Paul appears to have found the best of the lot, especially when it comes to meat.
Locally produced pork, lamb, and the best chicken eggs I’ve ever had are standouts on the menu.
The Porchetta Sandwich is a big pile of roasted pork complemented by Peppernata and Provolone. It was juicy, not fatty – and Paul bakes the “warm from the oven” bun at the restaurant. He doesn’t take the easy way (commercial premade ingredients, boring buns, pickles). Every part of each dish is made from scratch, and the “garnishes” are interesting and unique.
On a recent Monday at lunch, Paul’s special pasta was Cavatelli (hand rolled, looks like a bit like penne until you notice it’s a roll, not a tube). He served it with a lamb ragu. The ragu was a full-bodied meat broth with shredded pieces of roasted lamb. The broth was to-die-for. The dish was surprisingly light – intense flavors but, like the Porchetta sandwich, not fatty or oily.
Two of my pet peeves- fat and salt – are handled just right here. Farm to Fork’s food is light, not greasy, and I’ve never had anything that was overly salted. I could become a Paul Bachand groupie for his deft touch with these ingredients alone.
Don’t get me started about salt. I can rant about the would-be delicious food at highly regarded restaurants wrecked by too much salt. Do they pour on the salt to hide a less than perfect dish, or is it “chefs gone wild” with trendy exotic salts from around the world? Maybe it’s just poor cooking .
More Farm to Fork not to miss – killer burger (it’s the perfect meat). A couple of winemakers sitting next to me last week were talking about it being the best burger they’d ever had.
The semolina crusted onion rings are served with horseradish cream. They are savory, light, fresh, addictive.
If you’re a local, this is your new hangout. If you’re visiting, check it out. But please don’t tell anyone. There’s only so much room at the bar, and I want a seat!
Farm to Fork is at the south end of Dundee, on 99W. Look for the new brick building with the PRESS Winebar board on the sidewalk.