Some months back I was out on a Sunday drive and ended up in Colbert, Okla., where I ran across a restaurant called The Farmstead. When I got home I looked it up on the Web, and, surprised at the excellent reviews, I decided that I would give it a try some day. Recently, on a bright and sunny day that I hope is a harbinger of spring, I met a friend from Durant at the restaurant for lunch.
We got there about 11:30, so the place was not crowded yet. The Farmstead is basically a breakfast and limited menu Southern cooking place offering salads, entrees such as chicken fried steak, pork chops, catfish and chicken, along with traditional side dishes. They also have hamburgers and a couple of sandwiches. Their slogan is “Fresh Food & Made-from-Scratch Pies
I had looked over the menu on the Farmstead website and decided to try the steak sandwich, some fried green tomatoes and of course some of the made-from-scratch pie they brag about. When the waitress said that the special for the day was meatloaf, I changed my mind. I do not think I have had any really good meatloaf since the Glory to God Café in Sherman closed its doors, so it was meatloaf with corn and carrots. My friend had the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. And no, I did not forget the fried green tomatoes.
The tomatoes, with a cup of ranch style dip, arrived first, and we munched away at them while waiting for rest of the meal. They were good, with a flavorful coating, although I would have liked them a bit more on the crunchy side.
The big slice of meatloaf was good, although not quite on par with Bobbie Marine’s offering at the Glory to God. I like meatloaf juicy — not greasy, but juicy. The Farmstead’s version was tasty but a little bit dry and crumbly. Corn is corn, carrot are carrots and toast is toast. I ate my fill, mindful of putting down the fork to leave room for dessert.
Across the table, my friend worked his way through the nice sized chicken fried steak and pronounced it good but not memorable. I wish I had ordered the green beans, which came seasoned with bits of pimento or red bell pepper, I do not know which, but looked really good.
Reviewer’s note: Chicken fried steak is a subjective thing. It can be thick or thin, deep fried, pan fried or griddle fried, battered or breaded, peppery or plain, crunchy or softer. There are just about as many ways to make it as there are cooks in the kitchen. I suspect that most people’s idea of perfect is what their mother made or what they got at the hometown café when they were kids. For me, that was so long ago that I doubt that I really know what I am looking for anymore. All of this is to remind diners to approach dishes, particularly traditional ones, with an open mind and palate.
The pie offering for the day was chocolate or coconut cream. We both ordered the coconut and agreed that the dessert was the highlight of the meal. The crust was tender and flaky, the meringue tall and fluffy and the coconut cream was rich with flavor while still being light in texture. They might well call it coconut cloud pie. (Note: If the picture makes the pie look a bit truncated, it is because the fork was quicker than the camera.)
The Farmstead sells beer and has a wine list. The latter would set it apart from what you might expect in a small-town eatery. The staff was bright and friendly and, all in all, it is a place I would try again.
Complaints, suggestions, ideas? Let me know at Sparkes@heralddemocrat.com