Location: 228 W Chicago Ave
Cost: About $30 per person
My old roommate Schneider emailed me early last week trying to get together a bunch of our buddies for dinner. The professor was too busy hanging in the burbs, DWeiss had the Big Ten 10k the next morning, Ricky was in Door County with Rachel, and Jeremy was at Cafe Lucci celebrating his grandma's birthday. So it boiled down to just the two of us... bro date. I got off of work pretty late, and Schneider's only a stones throw from NMH as it is, so we decided to hit up something close by. After some deliberation we ended up at Farmhouse.
Farmhouse is right next to Bistro Voltaire near Chicago and Lasalle. They've got a cool two story setup. Both floors have long side bars and seating along the other wall. It was packed when we got there at 8:30 on a Friday night. We ended up waiting a good half hour, but the craft beer list kept us company during that time. We got seats on the patio which paid off since we got to watch all of the classiest women in Chicago make their way into Enclave down the street.
Our waiter was hilarious. He was really into the beer and some of the more fattening items on the menu. Most importantly, he looked like Judah Friedlander without the hat. The prices are fine, not great. A burger will run you $12 while all of the other entrees are closer to $20 and up.
There was no way we could pass up on the Wisconsin Cheese Curds. These lumps of cheese were super oily with a really pleasant exterior crunch. They weren't too heavily battered or anything. We were really hungry though, and I wish we'd ordered another appetizer.
The Cheese Curds
We both got the burger although Schneider went a bit more wild with the toppings, throwing some pork belly on his. I did not like the bun. It was a little dry and crumbly. My burger was cooked medium rare, just how I'd asked. My big issue was that the burger was a lump and not a patty. I don't know if you've seen the Eddy Murphy standup bit where he talks about how all of his friends would eat McDonald's and he was stuck with some ball of ground beef that his mom put between two pieces of white bread, but this felt a bit like that. The meat was juicy and all, but eating a ball is somewhat inconvenient. I felt the need to mash things into a patty on my own, but that path got pretty messy pretty quickly. The fries were well crisped with plenty of substance. They remided me of the fries at Al's Beef.
OverallI had pretty high expectations for Farmhouse based on comments from a lot of my friends, and my experience definitely fell short. The curds were great while the burger was just average.The beer selection is intriguing. I'm giving them 3 out of 5 Pearls.