Nestled in the quaint Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica, FarmShop is a definitive foodie paradise. In a city that embraces the farm-to-table ethos, FarmShop leads the pack with its rare combination of style and substance. The food here is truly exceptional, thanks to Chef/Owner Jeff Cerciello’s vision and dedication to sourcing the best California-centric culinary products available. If his name sounds familiar, it should—Cerciello began his culinary career at the French Laundry before taking the helm as director of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group’s casual dining division.
Cerciello and his talented team—Culinary Director Brian Reimer (who worked with Daniel Boulud for 10 years, eventually running operations for his restaurants in Asia) and Executive Sous Chef Jacob Wetherington (formerly at Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas)—focus on creating delicious dishes bursting with flavorful ingredients from artisanal purveyors, farmers, fishermen and ranchers. FarmShop’s seasonal, market-driven menus feature innovative dishes that really sing.
Every dish prepared by this passionate cadre of culinary pros is thoughtfully designed, expertly executed and extremely satisfying. It is no surprise that the press has consistently heaped praise on FarmShop and its “little sister” restaurant, located in the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, or that the restaurant’s devoted diners include plenty of Hollywood heavyweights.
When it comes to dinner, start with the creamy avocado hummus. Topped with crunchy pistachio salsa verde and nigella seeds, this lush spread is served with lavash, perfect for dipping. Other standout starters include the melt-in-your-mouth crudo of Royal Hamachi, the crunchy fritto misto of summer squash and blossoms and the refreshing chilled yellow tomato saffron gazpacho. The ceviche of Pacific octopus is a zesty treat, thanks to a compressed watermelon and yuzu vinaigrette, shaved haricot vert and pickled peppers.
While diners may be tempted to make a meal out of several appetizers, doing so would be short-sighted. Consider the slow-baked, wild king salmon, the best of its class, simply seasoned, perfectly cooked and served with green garbanzo beans, za’atar yogurt, roasted Black Mission figs and shavings of baby fennel. The flavors and textures of this dish work in complete harmony. Ditto the rustic herb-roasted Jidori chicken, complete with curried summer squash salad, English peas, Medjool dates, house-made labne and sprouted almonds and the Angry Dungeness Crab Spaghetti, punched up with Alle-Pia Ndjua sausage, spicy Calabrian chili pesto, herbed walnuts and Thorne Family Farm arugula. The Snake River Farms eye of the ribeye is a carnivore’s delight, served with a unique combo of charred broccoli di ciccio, crispy panisse (chickpea flour fingers), roasted red onions, teardrop peppers (that taste both sweet and sour) and olivade.
The perfect sweet ending to any meal comes courtesy of Pastry Chef Jeffrey de Leon’s decadent desserts. Two favorites are the Cookie Dough-Crusted Profiteroles, served with salted caramel gelato and warm mocha chocolate sauce, and the Frozen Santa Barbara Pistachio Nougat, featuring Thorne Family Farm Albion strawberries, black cumin and fresh whipped cream, natch!
Serving up these delicious dishes, FarmShop’s genial and attentive staffers stand out for their genuine friendly attitudes and extensive knowledge about the menu, the market and the thoughtful wine list. The latter includes some 12 to 14 offerings by the glass and 50 to 60 by the bottle. The wines are mostly from notable California wineries, with a nod to some of the best European producers.
In addition to the restaurant, FarmShop houses a gourmet market and bakery. The bountiful market offerings include farmers market fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal cheeses, cured charcutierie, condiments, chocolate bars, ice cream and gelato, juices, wine, beer, ciders and more… A prepared food area features yummy sandwiches and salads, rotisserie chicken and plenty of swell sides.
The bakery is carb heaven, with its array of breads and fluffy croissants, along with scones (chocolate and buttermilk reign), muffins, fruit tarts and cookies (try the three-pack chocolate chip, peanut butter and double chocolate). The chocolate chip banana bread is perfectly moist and understandably addictive (they run out often, so get there early!).
Dining and shopping at FarmShop always includes a warm welcome, an enjoyable experience and a treat for the taste buds.
Located at 225 26th Street in Santa Monica, FarmShop serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, brunch Saturday and Sunday and dinner nightly. Sunday dinner is a family-style, prix fixe meal of their signature Fried Jidori Chicken with all the sides.
For reservations and information, call 310.566.2400 or visit FarmShopCa.com.