I hadn’t heard of Farm House restaurant before, but my husband suggested last weekend that we give it a shot. Thank goodness for GPS, otherwise I don’t think we would have ever found the place. It’s north of Chapel Hill, a ways off 40. When you see Allen & Son you turn in onto Millhouse Rd, then right before you cross the railroad tracks, you turn into a small, 1 lane gravel driveway. The parking lot is more gravel, and the walkway to the restaurant is even more gravel, so don’t wear your fancy shoes. We were a bit confused a bit as to where the entrance was, as it all looked like just a solid wall of wood. But yes, there is a large wooden door that swings outward, with a nice little sign asking you to please close it.
The interior of the restaurant is very dark, no windows at all, and smells very much like an authentic barn or farmhouse. I suppose that smell really never goes away. The interior reminded me a lot of Angus Barn, except it was even more rustic. The tables don’t have tablecloths, just plain, worn wood, and there are small kerosene lamps at each table for your lighting. The menus were simple place mat style with only 7 entrees available. I actually don’t mind a limited selection of entrees, as it usually indicates they can do a few things really well. This is a sharp contrast to places like The Cheesecake Factory, where the menu goes on for pages and pages, but they actually do very few things well (I’ll make an exception for the Miso Salmon, that’s really good). So, if you’re a vegetarian and you come to Farm House, you’re going to be out of luck. They do have a grilled tuna entree, so if you’re a pescatarian you’ll have something. Otherwise it’s mostly steak and a grilled chicken option. All the entrees also come with a potato and half piece of toast.
I figured if I go to a steakhouse and order tuna I’d probably not have as good of an experience, so I went for the 8 oz. rib eye cooked to medium. They gave me the option of substituting out the potato for a sweet potato, so I went for it. My husband got the 12 oz. farm house strip steak, no potato. Their wine selection is limited, and their beer selection is even worse. They were out of Merlot, so I ended up going for a Cabernet Sauvignon which went fine with the steak.
The little pickle tray had some nice snacks on it while we were waiting. The carrot and celery sticks are light so you don’t fill up too much. I tried a pickled pepper, and it was like an explosion of vinegar in my mouth, quite strong. The regular pickles were pretty good. Pimento cheese on crackers are a good way to make yourself full before the meal though, so don’t eat too many of them!
The salads they brought out were very plain iceberg salads, with dressing in small plastic containers. It looked very similar to what you’d get at a Denny’s or IHOP. I also don’t get the Bac-Os, is that some sort of inside joke? I guess at $20 a steak I shouldn’t be expecting Heron’s quality from their salads, but they could have tried a little harder.
The steaks took quite a while to come out. I think most of the delay was due to the sweet potato I ordered. They came back after a while and asked if it would be ok if they just microwaved it for me. I said sure, but I really just wanted my steak. They brought a huge dish of butter, some brown sugar in the same kind of plastic dish the dressing came in, and a bottle of 5th Season cinnamon (the cheapo kind you see at dollar stores). I assume this was all for my sweet potato, but I suppose the butter could have gone on the toast as well.
The steaks came out sizzling hot on cast iron skillets, with a wooden board underneath to protect the table. We didn’t ask for any A1, because I don’t think you should use steak sauce unless the steak is terrible. Well, the steak was delicious, and perfectly medium just as I asked. The baked sweet potato wasn’t exactly the highlight of the meal, but it wasn’t terrible either. I was so full by the end of the meal that I couldn’t even consider dessert. Maybe next time if I get the fish and save some room, I can try their apple pie.
The prices are pretty decent at $20 a meal, and the steaks are as good as what you’d find at most quality steakhouses. Farm House is a lot like Angus Barn, without the high prices and pretension.