1006 17 Ave. SW, Calgary
Rating: *** 1/2
Signature Drink: Wine
Signature Dish: Mac and cheese
Dinner & drinks for 2: $50
FARM, the restaurant extension of Janice Beaton’s fine cheese store, is a nod to both a commitment to local producers and a casual atmosphere for sharing lip-smacking specials.
Nibble on meats and cheeses on a cutting board (3 for $15, 5 for $25): smoky chimney sticks from Canmore’s Valbella Meats, house-made pork rillette, decadent Quebec blue cheese, soft raw French brie. All are carefully matched with tidy sides (grainy mustard, chutneys).
A blackboard lists daily changing specials, along with well-considered wine and beer pairings.
Sometimes they’re cheeky, like the Rocky Mountain oysters ($8). Gently battered and deep-fried, accented by pickled peppers and onion aioli, the bull testicles are elevated to a bona fide appetizer.
FARM shines in the confidence of its comfort foods such as a bubbling mac and cheese (small $10, large $13) blanketed by slightly spicy, baked breadcrumbs.
The BLT salad ($12) defies you to put your fork down with a shower of grated three-year raw cheddar, double-smoked bacon, tomato, honey mustard vinaigrette and butter leaf lettuce I didn’t know could have flavour.
The mains are tasty — a honey-brined quail ($18) gets your fingers working; beef short ribs ($18) are fork-fall tender — but are not enormous. FARM is quality over quantity, a homey place for breaking bread over a few shared plates and glasses of wine.
Jack of hearts bistro
Take a weekday break from scarfing down a sandwich at your desk. Killer soups and lasagna are among the delicious lunch items at the Jack of Hearts Bistro (620-12th Ave. SW), a sunny respite hidden in a heritage building.
Sait’s The Highwood
Culinary students from SAIT (1301-16th Ave. NW) cook up a popular buffet lunch every Thursday from 11 a.m. at The Highwood, the school’s dining room. Reservations recommended at 403-284-8615, ext. 2.