OK, so we’ve gotten used to chefs being superstars, but only in L.A. can you find a rock star farmer with a salivating fan base. He just opened Farmhouse, one of the most anticipated restaurants for the greengrocery set.
With wall-to-wall hipsters in all shapes, sizes and ages, the recent two-day preview came complete with a red carpet and Lance Bass dancing around a shiny red tractor brought into the Beverly Center just for the event celebrating the opening of Nathan Peitso’s farm-traceable seed-to-plate restaurant.
Menu highlights from soft-spoken Aussie executive chef Craig Hopson include radicchio and chicory salad with goat’s milk ricotta, hazelnuts and grapefruit; seared wild black cod with herbed Weiser Family Farm potatoes and soft-boiled egg for a silky sauce; and an eight-hour braised lamb shoulder with carrot-saffron romanesco, roasted carrots and almonds. The pappardelle pasta dish is served with California pistachio pesto and sweet, slow-roasted cherry tomatoes.
Dessert for the opening took the cake – a fennel pavlova floating in a pool of banana cream and lemon shaved ice. Another great option when in season is the dark chocolate custard with California kumquat mousse.
The ocean trout gravlax toast with pickled shallots, sprouts and goat cheese is a divine lunch option.
“As executive farmer at Farmhouse, having a direct connection to local agriculture and to my close-knit network of neighboring farmers allows our team to offer guests the best selection of fruits and vegetables at the peak of spring, summer, fall and winter,” second-generation farmer Peitso tells L.A. Weekly. “I’m thrilled to showcase many of my friend farmers through the restaurant and introduce a variety of products that are oftentimes unavailable with larger production farms.”
Peitso grew up amid the lettuce fields his mother, Andrea Crawford, grew. Crawford started Kenter Canyon Farms, and her product was sought after throughout California. She grew specific varieties of greens exclusively for such chefs as Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck.
Designed by Olya Volkova, Farmhouse is expansive at 7,000 square feet, with five distinct dining spaces and two bars on offer. The space to the right of the kitchen with the green cabinets is called the Farmer’s Table, decorated with huge vessels of pickled produce that will make fermenting fanatics feel like a kid in a candy shop. The room against the back wall with the floor-to-ceiling windows is called the Greenhouse. There’s an area with a fireplace dubbed the Living Room, and a space in the back known as the Veranda.
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An obviously proud Crawford was on hand for her son’s official debut. “Throughout Nathan’s childhood, cooking was a form of entertainment for our family. Tightly squeezed into our kitchen, I would put him to work chopping parsley and instilling in him the importance of forgoing fad microwave meals of the ’80s and instead developing an appreciation of real, from-the-earth food,” Crawford says.
“With the opening of Farmhouse, I see the passing of the baton, as the teachings of his youth have come full circle, captured by his vision for a farm-forward restaurant.”
Farmhouse, 8500 Beverly Blvd., #113, West Hollywood; (310) 818-4925, farmhousela.com.