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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Farm:Table Is a Small, Beautiful Thing

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 2:26 PM

click to enlarge Yesterday's hard-boiled egg at Farm:Table ($6.50). - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Yesterday's hard-boiled egg at Farm:Table ($6.50).

Farm:Table is too small for a review. At 280 square feet, it's too small for a birthday party, too small for Saturday brunch rush ― too small for adulation, even. There is one indoor table, square and solid, that fits seven at the most, plus a few cafe tables outside. The cockpit of a tank is bigger than the kitchen/coffee station where three cooks and baristas maneuver around one another. And both the a.m. and p.m. menus consist of three dishes apiece; the list fits on a chalkboard, as well as a couple of tweets. (The weekend brunch menu has a few extra dishes, I'm told.)

And yet the cafe is a wonder in miniature.

click to enlarge JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
Kate and Shannon Amitin, who opened Farm:Table in May 2009, used to work at Blue Bottle (she managed the Ferry Building kiosk, he was a roaster). They used to live in the Castro, too, but after finding this space they fell for the Tendernob and moved to the neighborhood. "It feels the most urban of the San Francisco neighborhoods," Kate says. "I can't say enough good things about living here."

Kate's food is precise and lovely without being precious, and most of the ingredients come from either the farmers' markets or Happy Boy Farms. The coffee's from Verve ― a favorite ― and despite the cafe's significant Yelplove, it isn't too crowded on a

weekday afternoon to sit down for an hour and read over a bowl of vegetable soup.

Kate hasn't been a chef, but I've been to the cafe a couple of times,

and her modest food tastes accomplished. Take these eggs ($6.50): Three

hard-boiled halves, perched on slices of whole-wheat baguette and

showered in Alison McQuade's

curry-gold habanero chutney, fine threads of radish, mild feta cheese,

and peppercress microgreens. Hard-boiled eggs can suck the flavor out of

any fragile-flavored ingredient, but the toppings were sweet-savory,

spicy, and three kinds of peppery. I normally hate hard-boiled eggs. I finished the plate.

Farm: Table: 754 Post (at Leavenworth), 292-7089.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @jonkauffman.

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