The Herbfarm is one of the restaurants that are on many a bucket list. It is a 9-course dinner that is matched with 5-6 wines. If it’s not on your must-experience list, then you might want to consider it.
Arrive early for a tour of the wine cellar and herb garden. Check out the library upstairs while enjoying a cup of tea. As the visit was in mid-winter and dark at this time, the pre-dinner garden tour is taken inside. Samples of herbs and tree foliage and the ever desired black truffle is passed around for a taste, feel, smell. The history of how The Herbfarm came about is told by co-founder (and hostess) Carrie Van Dyck. Husband, President, and Culinary Director, Ron Zimmerman is in the wine cellar prior to dinner, talking the talk of wine. Check out their story http://www.theherbfarm.com/about/ronandcarrie.html. On the tour, we saw vintages from the early 1900’s. It’s amazing that the two of them continue to make this part of their daily ritual. Although it is dark outside in January, they encourage you to visit the pigs and garden between courses.
Upon arriving at your seat, you will find the table personalized with the parties name and if you are celebrating a special occasion, a small frame with greetings is presented. The menus are presented in a booklet with information about The Herbfarm, the dining courses, the wine being paired with and staff bio’s. Around the time of the first course, the staff is introduced, the wine being served is explained as well as information on the culinary specifics of the various courses. Chef Chris Weber describes the dishes and where the ingredients are sourced from. I was very impressed with the amount of local ingredients (and vendors) that are used as well as the Native American background that is preserved here. The menus change seasonally and have a theme to the lineup. On this particular night, we enjoyed the theme “A Menu for Red Heads” (An All-Red-Wine Dinner). And as a change of course, the menu was designed around the wine selections.
A Menu for Red Heads is well-rounded. It consisted of the following:
First Course: Rutabaga Root Soup, Weathervane Scallop Tartar, Cured Steelhead, Grilled Duck Breast Proscuitto
Second Course: Terrine of Alaska Octopus, Fermented Garlic, Herbfarm Potatoes
Third Course: Breast of Blue-Footed Chicken, Salad of Leek and Pellegrini Beans, Chicken Skin & Flax Cracker
Fourth Course: Seared Pacific Albacore Tuna, Gloucestershire Old Spot Proscuitto, Turnips, Bloomed Onion-Seed Sauce
Fifth Course: Lopez Island Lamb Marinated in Red Wine Lees, Black Trumpet Mushroom Lasagna, Rosemary-Mustard Green Pesto
Sixth Course: Lightly Glazed Torchon of Puyallup Foie Gras, Mince of Winter Vegetables, Meringues of Olympic Peninsula Saffron
Seventh Course: Rose Panna Cotta, Frozen Zabaglione of Citrus Herbs, Chamomile Ice
Eighth Course: Consomme of Dark Fruits and Oak, Crispy Hazelnut Cake, Anise Hyssop
Ninth Course: Red Velvet Canale, Bay Cream Gingersnap, White Chocolate Sour Cherry, Port Wine Fish
Dessert included: Red Velvet Beet Canale, White Chocolate Sour Cherry, Port Wine Fish, and Bay Cream Gingersnap treats.
Alternate Dinner Sips, Tastes and Flights of wine can be purchased as well as coffee, tea, and other. If wine is not on your list of must-haves, then a substitute will be provided. Pricing of meal stays the same. While dinner is being enjoyed, you’ll hear the soothing sound of guitar played by Patricio Contreras. The staff will serve the meal as a team. A number of wine SME’s as well as Sommelier Joey Lopaka and Tysan Dutta, pour the wine. The wine cellar consists of over 26,000 bottles and 4,500 selections. If the wine you wish to bring in is not on The Herbfarm Award Winning wine list, the corkage fee is $35. And, if you would like to stay the night at Willows Lodge http://www.willowslodge.com/ request a taxi, or other, they will be happy to arrange it. Most recently, The Herbfarm was the only Washington State restaurant to receive the AAA 5-Diamond Award and as of this posting, is among the James Beard Foundation 2014 Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists. Many more accolades have been and will be awarded.
Overall, this is quite the production. It is customized, unique, cozy, romantic, and a must for the foodie. http://www.theherbfarm.com/