Exploring the North Bay, one restaurant creating much buzz since opening earlier this year is Farmshop in Larkspur Landing.
It doesn’t hurt that the name already comes with some cache for those familiar with the original Farmshop in Santa Monica by Chef/Owner Jeff Cerciello. Cerciello, who once worked at Bouchon in Napa Valley before moving down south, opened his Farmshop Marin in a tiny Larkspur shopping mall and stays true to his philosophy of farm fresh dishes with flair.
The buzz makes it hard to get decent reservations, even on a Sunday night. That’s why when my friends and I visited after a day in Sonoma wine country, we ended up sitting at the bar, which serves the full dinner menu for walk-ins after 5:30 p.m.
The bar area is almost as big as the dining room, with a long bar possibly fitting two dozen people and as many two-tops and more along the facing wall. A couple of things different about the dining room and the bar, though, are that there’s not much light in the bar and you don’t get a view of the large kitchen team working in a big open counter led by Executive Chef Mark Hopper.
The menu, which changes with the season, provides a long list of appetizers and starters, with a few entrees and sides. Because my friends and I were full from a day of eating, we had a light dinner. I ordered two appetizers that hit the spot for a light dinner, especially the ahi tuna crudo ($19), a beautiful plate with an unusual ahi presentation.
Probably the best-tasting tuna crudo I’ve had in a long time, the tuna chunks came out looking like watermelon, covered in a familiar sesame oil sauce but with a few hints of possibly chili and citrus.
A Spanish octopus menestra ($13) was incredibly tender octopus in a stew of tomatoes and olives. My friend enjoyed a hearty and refined winter salad sunchoke crema and chiogga beets ($13.50).
Side note: Getting into the holiday spirit, I ordered the special hot butter rum ($15) that had a nice cream topping and butterscotch flavor.
The Last Bite
While entrees seem on the high end, the quality of ingredients and refinement of presentation makes Farmshop an exciting new addition to the dining scene. Not just in Larkspur but the whole Bay Area.
Rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps
Farmshop Marin, 2233 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, Calif. PH: 415.755.6700. Open for dinner, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily (till 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday); and daily lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. www.farmshopla.com
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