Restaurant Review: Farmstead Table in Newton Centre
Simplicity is highly underrated. That’s the thought, at least, that comes to mind after a dinner at Farmstead Table, a tiny Newton Centre bistro run by husband-and-wife team Chad and Sharon Burns, the chef and pastry chef, respectively.
As its name suggests, the restaurant has embraced the increasingly prevalent farm-to-table ethos. Seasonal produce, some of which comes from producers as close as Newton Community Farm, dominates the menu. Driving the concept home? The tables are carved out of rustic wood, blueberry-spiked lemonade arrives in mason jars, and the check comes in a berry basket. So yes, much of Farmstead Table borders on cliché. But it’s also a lovely place for a homey neighborhood meal.
A veteran of Radius and Aquitaine Bis, Chad has a talent for coaxing harmonious flavors out of basic ingredients. The roasted beet “carpaccio” appetizer ($12, pictured above)—a salad of razor-thin sliced beets, goat cheese, pine nuts, and arugula drizzled with a sherry gastrique—had sweet, earthy undertones. And the tomato bisque ($8) was a wonderfully wholesome combination of San Marzano tomatoes, cream, and salt and pepper.
Entrées are prepared with the same philosophy in mind. The beefy grass-fed burger ($14) doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but the soft roll, smoked Vermont cheddar, and spiced black-pepper bacon—not to mention the mountain of crisp thin-cut fries—hit all the right notes. Bits of fresh turnip, corn, and purple Peruvian potato, meanwhile, added nice bite to a special of tender Cape Ann scallops and lobster. Less successful was a dish of roast duck breast with braised peaches, bok choy, and baby new potatoes ($23). Duck can be a tricky meat to get right, but here the fat was rendered to a perfect crisp. The peaches, however, lacked sweetness and failed to add much flavor.
Desserts, though, were impressive. The whipped-cream-topped warm chocolate pudding cake ($8), in particular, and the freeform fruit tart ($8)—on this visit filled with gloriously ripe nectarines and blueberries—serve as a reminder that the simplest treats are often the best.
71 Union St., Newton Centre, 617-928-6000.
Correction, 11/6/2012, 11:45 a.m.: The photo above was taken by Kate Kelly, not Kate Kelley, as previously attributed. We regret the error.