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OfflinegeokillsA
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Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm * 1
    #17308908 - 11/30/12 02:49 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Being a fan of the Bravo television series Top Chef, I like to try the contestant's restaurants
whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Recently, Bloomspot ran a $99 promotion for a 10 course
kitchen counter tasting with wine pairings at Stefan Richter's "Stefan's at L.A. Farm" restaurant in
Santa Monica, California.  I jumped on the deal, though I ended up attending on a Sunday night when
the place was practically empty and Stefan was no where to be found.  I actually ended up preferring
this experience to my previous visits when Stefan was there and the house was busy, since we really
got to have a lot of fun with the chefs that were in the kitchen that night, and they seemed particularly
relaxed and playful with the light load, and possibly absent their frenetic boss.

Holding it down was Alex Perez, sous chef of the L.A. Farm kitchen.  I had an inkling that this would
be a good evening, upon immediately noticing the oversized morning glory flowers tattooed on his
right forearm! :lol:  Liz , at least I think that's her name (after all the wine and vodka it became
difficult to recall), held down the grill and these two were by and large responsible for our service.


             


The cast of characters also included a smiley baker, whose name I unfortunately have forgotten, and
a young apprentice I believe is named Christian, whom Alex did not hesitate to haze with a tank of
liquid nitrogen, literally surprising him with a bowl of it thrown to his chest as he appeared around the
corner for our last course!


             


The fun was shared, as we got to play with the nitrogen ourselves, grabbing handfuls and watching it
splay across the table.  Just had to make sure it didn't contact our skin for more than a few seconds
or we would be risking a li'l bout of frost bite. :uhoh: :tongue2::spliff:


I didn't get pictures of everything, but I'll run down the basic menu for you.  We started off with a
pair of raw oysters, one adorned with caviar and one with shallots and a tartly acidic sauce.  The later
was by far my favorite, though generally, I still pass on raw oysters; the texture and overly oceanic
flavor just doesn't do it for me.  Thankfully, Alex suggested to the sommelier that he should bring a
shot of top shelf vodka to help us cleanse the palate with the oysters, even though we already had
the wine pairing... thanks Alex!

After that we received a beef tar tar fabricated from the chain cut, topped with a soft yolk quail egg
and accompanied with thinly sliced crispy fattened bread.  It was quite good.

For the third course, we were presented with a lovely squid ink risotto that also contained fresh crab
meat and english peas, topped with a grated hard cheese.  This was fantastic, so much so that it
inspired me to turn full on tourist and start snappin' pictures.

         


Next up we were served a rich creamy pumpkin soup with pancetta (crunchy fried pork), sage and
creme fraiche.  Also fantastic.

         


Then, possibly one of the best things I've eaten in my life, was this succulent seared scallop served
atop a creamy corn puree with fried parsnips, edible flowers and some pumpkin oil.  I wondered for
a moment if that was really pumpkin oil?  It looked a bit like cannabutter to me! :biggrin:

         


Behold, the textural glory and magnificence of a finely seared scallop...

         


Next up, a whopper of a fish dish, beautifully filo dough encrusted halibut served over an herb cream
sauce with mushrooms, sliced potatos, lima beans and some more of the micro greens.  The fish was
cooked perfectly, with the crunchy filo dough playing well off of the uber moist and tender insides, and
the soft mushrooms and potato in pleasant contrast to the drier bite of the beans.

         


As if it couldn't get any better, BAM, out comes the black truffle pasta.  Fuck, these guys got me
now.  I am but a mere baby sobbing in helpless but awesome wonder at these colorful plates of
deliciousness that keep falling in front of me!  This one, so creamy, so earthy, I would go back
just to order a few more.  It was pretty salty here, but I can forgive on account of my love of salt.

         


Liz decided to try something new on the next round, exclaiming how impressed she was that we were
still going strong.  Apparently, most people start to check out at around the fifth course.  We were
going on eight, and I have to at least credit in part the delicious wine pairings for keeping our palates
primed for more.  The dish Liz conceived was a beef cheek and spaetzel hash.  Frankly, it was a little
bit dry and lacking brightness for balance.  She was very receptive to the criticism and I look forward
to perhaps trying this again in a future iteration 'cause beef cheeks are da bomb.

At this point, the chefs rolled up to us with shifty eyes and almost whispered, "So how do you feel
about foie gras?"  Immediately I smiled, knowing that this cruel delicacy had recently been outlawed
for sale in California.  I of course noted my love for the decadence that is a fatty duck liver and Alex
offered to share some of his personal stash, as a personal gift, and not part of our paid tasting.  So it
was, we were hooked up with a mammoth slab of well seasoned foie gras atop a confit quail leg and
thigh with string beans and mushrooms.  YUM, the only criticism here was that the skin on the bird
might have been a little crispier, but you know the quail wasn't really the star of this show.

           


As if that weren't fatty enough, we had to get back on to our regularly scheduled programming, and
being a sucker for bone marrow, we got hooked up with a serious serving of rare veal with heaps of
fresh roasted marrow all over it, balanced by a bright and herbaceous chimichurri sauce.

           


For our first dessert course, we were presented with a quite fine souffle, fresh berries and cream.

         


Then out came the liquid nitrogen.  By this time the restaurant had all but shut down, many of the
employees having gone home, hence the madness that ensued with Christian getting a bowlful of the
nitro launched at his person, and me getting to play around in it with my own bare hands.  The true
purpose however, was to create these absolutely delicious layered ice cream lollipops, with a
chocolate center, and alternating fruit (possibly raspberry) and traditional ice cream layers.  I could
eat these all day...

               


So there you have it, a fairly non traditional 10-turned-12 course tasting meal in the kitchen at
Stefan's at L.A. Farm.  The staff there was too cool, and I hope Stefan realizes the quality that they
bring to the table 'cause based on what I've seen from his behavior on Top Chef (and the fact that
his website has no food porn and only pictures of himself), he might be a bit of an egomaniac. 
Fortunately, the chefs that served us were anything but.  They even sent us home with a couple of
pounds of the home made corn puree that accompanied the phenomenal scallop dish, when they
heard how much we liked it.

         


So thank you Alex, Liz, Christian, baker-dude, Paul and Domenico... you guys rock and
made for a well enjoyed evening!  I will be back on account of it. :thumbup::thumbup:


--------------------

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Invisibleunknown1123
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Re: Stefan's at L.A. Farm Restaurant [Re: geokills]
    #17309156 - 11/30/12 03:34 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Amazing :raveface:


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OfflineLiquidSmoke
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Re: Stefan's at L.A. Farm Restaurant [Re: geokills]
    #17309311 - 11/30/12 04:00 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Yeah dude, that scallop and corn dish was so nice.  Just having a nice balanced level of sweetness from the corns and scallop, such a wonderful combination.  Was also my favorite course when I went there for the 7 course dinner. 

It's dishes like that which make fine dining worthwhile (that is, going to the right places). 

I recall times like that when I've encountered such serenely brilliant combinations of flavors.


Scallops and corn

Foie gras and sweet winter squash

Pesto and shrimp



so on and so forth. 




The other thing I like about Stefan's is that it's not so over-the-top.  He really caters with familiar flavors to please the palate.  Everything is very approachable and just damn enjoyable to eat.




--------------------
"Shmokin' weed, Shmokin' wizz, doin' coke, drinkin' beers.  Drinkin' beers beers beers, rollin' fatties, smokin' blunts.  Who smokes tha blunts?  We smoke the blunts" - Jay and Silent Bob strike Back


Edited by LiquidSmoke (11/30/12 04:06 PM)


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Invisibleunknown1123
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Re: Stefan's at L.A. Farm Restaurant [Re: LiquidSmoke]
    #17309474 - 11/30/12 04:28 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Whats the average price for dinner with a party of 2 with drinks at this place?


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OfflineLiquidSmoke
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Re: Stefan's at L.A. Farm Restaurant [Re: unknown1123]
    #17311138 - 11/30/12 09:06 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

I'd say you can do around $65 per person and have a grand 'ol time.


--------------------
"Shmokin' weed, Shmokin' wizz, doin' coke, drinkin' beers.  Drinkin' beers beers beers, rollin' fatties, smokin' blunts.  Who smokes tha blunts?  We smoke the blunts" - Jay and Silent Bob strike Back


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OfflinegeokillsA
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Re: Stefan's at L.A. Farm Restaurant [Re: unknown1123]
    #17314820 - 12/01/12 03:32 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

unknown1123 said:
Whats the average price for dinner with a party of 2 with drinks at this place?




That's gonna depend on how you order.  If you do a tasting dinner with wine pairings at regular price,
you'll spend a cool $100/pp minimum after tax and tip, and as much as $250/pp after tax and tip if
you roll the Kitchen Counter experience at regular price.  Small plates & appetizers range from $5 -
$15 and are generally quite small.  Entrees are $20 - $35 each, and beer will run you $6 - $10 a
glass, with cocktails at $10+.  If you do one entree, one small plate and one drink, you can get out
for $60, but it's easy to rack up a bill at a place like this since the food is pretty darn good and the
plates are small enough that you tend to want to try a few.


I actually just went back last night with my friend Kremlin, since we had purchased a Bloomspot
voucher for the 5 course tasting with wine pairings that expires in a few days, discounted to $55 if my
memory serves me correctly.  The place was bustling when we arrived at 8:15 on a Friday night,
so we immediately ordered a couple of beers and a Truffle Pea Arancini ($5), which consisted of what
appeared to be a creamy truffle/pesto risotto, lightly breaded and deep fried and perched in a puddle
of lemon aioli sauce with a dollop of the same on top.  Really good stuff.


         


When it came time for the tasting, they started us with a salmon crudo, which unfortunately was
underwhelming.  It had a bright herb and aioli on it that was good (just not enough of it), though
the champagne they paired it with did help to liven it up. In aggregate, the dish was just a bit bland,
and I recall thinking to myself that I would have probably been happier with some salmon sashimi
from a regular ol' sushi joint.

Then popped out an acorn squash ravioli which was sweet and succulent.  Ah yes, back to win.  After
that I got to have another crack at their seared scallop and corn puree, still incredibly delicious
although the scallop was almost under-seared this time around, markedly less texture than the
one I had the other week, as pictured in the original post at the beginning of this thread.

Kickin' it into high gear, we then received a pair of brilliantly tender lamb chops with well seasoned
polenta.  They really knocked this one outta the park, finger lickin' good.


           


Wrapping up the show with a German cheesecake and some tawny port.


         


We ended up supplementing the final round with a Manhattan, which was incredibly stiff, and with a
$15 price tag to boot.  Big ups to our server Justin, who was friendly and well on top of things.


         


Alex ended up finding his way to our table after the kitchen closed down; most tables had vacated
and Kremlin and I were gettin' rightfully sauced with them Manhattan's on the heel of our beer and
wine soaked culinary fiasco.  We caught an eye of a new squid tattoo that went up most of Alex's
left arm, as well as Anthony Bourdain's "cook or die" logo, which I believe he said was his first hit
with the ink.  After giving him a holiday gift, I shamelessly inquired if there might be any lollipops
lurking around back, and in short order we got to enjoy a pair of root beer pops, cool and sweet.


         


--------------------

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OfflinePDU
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Re: Stefan's at L.A. Farm Restaurant [Re: geokills]
    #17315804 - 12/01/12 06:34 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Wonderful write up, the food looks excellent and sounds like you got a great value in the OP.


--------------------
GO OUTSIDE.


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InvisiblePrisoner#1
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Re: Stefan's at L.A. Farm Restaurant [Re: geokills]
    #17316789 - 12/01/12 09:26 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

I'm jelly... sounds like you guys had a damned good time with a great
staff instead of a bunch of pretentious dicks that weren't willing to
entertain their guests


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Invisiblesoochi
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: geokills]
    #17316828 - 12/01/12 09:33 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

the food looks o.k.

that foie needs more maillard reaction, unless it was poached.

Risotto would have looked nicer if crab was placed on top without any of the ink.

Bone marrow veal dish looks a littel disgusting, nice rounds of poached marrow would have looked a lot nicer and more refined. It looks like a breast implant exploded over some meat

microgreens are passe. especially when you bundle them together.

the dessert just made me laugh, old school, but if its good...

overall nothing daring or overly creative, nice safe food.

careful with the nitrogen you can blow your hands off.


--------------------
Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!


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InvisibleSheikCorp
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: geokills]
    #17316953 - 12/01/12 09:55 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Awesome write ups!

I have always had an interest in food and watched the frugal gourmet religiously as a little kid.  Only worked front end though in the industry.  But would find myself in the kitchen learning every chance I could get and cooking for myself.  I should maybe throw down on a proper education.

I'd love to have a place thats super simple.  When I was visiting a friend in Rome we went to this spot, and I'd like to mirror it in a way.  It was a dead end street.  with a few fold out  tables with table cloths set out.  There was a garage door that opened up to a kitchen.  You had two choices and got a a pitcher of wine and limoncello .

But the last place I worked at was here, 90 acres  I miss the atmosphere there.


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InvisibleSheikCorp
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: soochi]
    #17316964 - 12/01/12 09:57 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

lol the breast implant comment made me crack up


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OfflineLiquidSmoke
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: soochi]
    #17317830 - 12/02/12 12:30 AM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

soochi said:

overall nothing daring or overly creative, nice safe food.







That's how I felt about that place.  But it's also what I liked about it.  It's very approchable, familiar stuff.


It does seem like this restaurant, or Stefan Richter's gameplan was never to be groundbreaking or trend-setting in the culinary scene.  He just wants to satisfy and entice his clientele with simple, approachable and tasty flavors.


--------------------
"Shmokin' weed, Shmokin' wizz, doin' coke, drinkin' beers.  Drinkin' beers beers beers, rollin' fatties, smokin' blunts.  Who smokes tha blunts?  We smoke the blunts" - Jay and Silent Bob strike Back


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Offlinedstark
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: LiquidSmoke]
    #17318527 - 12/02/12 02:55 AM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Yummm, thanks for the eyes course:)


--------------------
What is a mind, if not something to be messed with? What is consciousness, if not a state to be altered?

~I Feel
:mushroom2:
at Home~


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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: geokills]
    #17320845 - 12/02/12 03:49 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

That scallop is just amazing looking to me right now


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OfflineBeanhead
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: Chespirito]
    #17322503 - 12/02/12 08:45 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)



:awepreciation:

this is amazing


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OfflineBothHands
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: geokills]
    #17322638 - 12/02/12 09:04 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

That truffle pasta looks AMAZING, but the deep fried truffle risotto for 5$ made me wet myself.


--------------------
Put America to sleep with warm milk and clichés.


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OfflineNizzyJones
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: geokills]
    #17332439 - 12/04/12 02:35 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Love these threads of your's Geo. :thumbup: Thanks for sharing!


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OfflinegeokillsA
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: NizzyJones]
    #17332706 - 12/04/12 03:12 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Glad you're enjoying 'em, I enjoy making them. :smile:


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InvisibleLunarEclipse
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Re: Food Porn & Review: Stefan's at L.A. Farm [Re: geokills]
    #17332937 - 12/04/12 03:51 PM (7 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:

geokills said:
Glad you're enjoying 'em, I enjoy making them. :smile:




Yeah very cool.  Two Tums up.


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Anxiety is what you make it.


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