To the Editor:
As a resident of Newtown for over 16 years, I’ve had the opportunity of going to all of the town’s restaurants at one point or another. And to be clear, I’m writing about restaurants, not dives, diners, and assorted pubs. For the most part, those outings resulted in my channeling Randy Jackson when, famously, during the finalist sessions of an American Idol season he would say, nonplussed: “It was just all right for me, Dawg, just all right.” The performance, in other words, was expected and didn’t surpass those expectations. Of course, expectations about food, beverage, and service are highly subjective, built by years of personal experience, and I’ve had more than my fair share.
Growing up in Paris, I would play poker every weekend with a group of friends and we would dump all the winnings in a single pot, to pay for the most fabulous dinner of the year in one of Paris’s top restaurants. I did this for four years, being privileged to dine at three Michelin star restaurants each of those years. To top it off, my mother owned and operated one of the very first “nouvelle cuisine” French restaurants in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As a result, my standards are somewhat higher than the average, which is probably unfair to many of the hardworking women and men who toil every day in Newtown’s restaurants to give their patrons the best their kitchens can produce. At least, it has been until The Farmhouse opened.
Having been to Filet, its predecessor, and even to Steve’s Diner (which I don’t put in the same league as the real restaurants of Newtown), I know the location well, and it’s convenient, even if not in the center of the town’s action. It is, however, and bar none, the best restaurant I’ve been to in quite some time, and not just in Newtown. As someone who started working in restaurant kitchens at the age of 14, I know that the quality of what is served is a careful combination of the skills of the chef and the ingredients. And that’s what The Farmhouse has pulled off. The quality of the ingredients is spectacular and the talent of the chef brings out the best of those ingredients. While many readers of The Bee may not appreciate calf liver, the one served at The Farmhouse is the best I’ve had in my life, and that’s saying something. The tuna was equally superb, as were the vegetables accompanying, but not overwhelming, the protein in the dish. I rarely eat desserts, but having been stunned by the liver, I decided to try the chocolate mousse and the crème brulée, both of which were equally great. So here’s hoping that this restaurant is here to stay, because it should. It truly is Newtown’s best so far.
Francois de Brantes
13 Sugar Street, Newtown January 11, 2016