Farm Spirit Opens for Dinner in Portland
Modernist plant-based restaurant Farm Spirit is now open for dinner at the new 1403 SE Belmont Street location with owner Aaron Adams as head chef. The set multi-course menu features vegetable cookery of the Cascadia region, all sourced from within 105 miles of the restaurant.
While Farm Spirit is often categorized as vegan fine dining, Adams insists that the restaurant not to be taken too seriously. No preaching, no pretension here. Only eclectic and inventive vegan cuisine now served in a full-sized, 30-seat restaurant, expanded from the former 14-seat chef counter.
“Coming back as chef, I put a lot of my personality in the space. My cuisine style and mission are still firmly intact – I just want to connect people to this incredible region in a way that they may not have experienced before, whether they are vegan or not,” says Adams. Case in point: a life-sized framed photograph of Adams’ dog, Dash, bedecked in a bow tie, greets visitors to the bathroom.
Farm Spirit gained recognition after its opening in 2015 by playing with the expected norms of modernist dining, sometimes coloring in the lines, sometimes scribbling over them. In the new space, servers begin the meal with table-side snacks served from a gueridon, reminding guests they are always welcome to lick their plates. “Butter” for bread may be served in a small the cover of a small cloche terrarium, with smoke released once the cover is lifted. A course of squash fritters may be served in child-size cast iron frying pans. Guests enjoy the strums of folksy acoustic guitar music during one part of the meal, a ‘60s Motown hit the next.
Adams constantly tinkers with the ever-changing menu according to the produce sourced from local farms and farmer’s markets. Once ingredients are brought in-house, Adams and his team experiment with textures and flavors with the help of the new freeze drier, pasta extruder, centrifuge, dehydrators, and temperature-controlled fermentation cabinets. The opening winter menu includes:
- Wild rice sourdough bread
- First press rapeseed spread
- Snacks (served tableside)
- Carrot jerky
- Winter roll with borage butter
- Seeded cracker, cultured filbert, smoked beet
- Kale chips, ferments
- Nixtamalized barley, abalone mushroom, green tomato preserve
- Potato Salad - roast fingerlings, mustards, onion cream
- Brussels - wilted leaves, winter squash and filbert dressing, black garlic, pepitas, fermented sunflower
- Ravioli - mushrooms, roast carrot and parsley root, nourishing broth, bay laurel oil
- Celeriac - grilled over charcoal with huckleberry glaze, char sauce, savoy, vegetable cream
- Malted Potato - puree, salted ice cream, black Oregon truffles
- Apple - roast apple and apple cake, frozen vanilla yogurt mousse, chamomile “honey”
- Tea Snacks - bon bon, cookie, candy
The 1,000-square-foot restaurant’s aesthetic honors the Cascadia region with an “outside-in” décor and design elements from local craftspeople. The fog-colored walls serve as a tranquil backdrop for the hanging natural artifacts by Metal and Moss. The custom bar, tabletops, and wood paneling are all fashioned from white oak from Neu Wave. Hand-made ceramic dinnerware is from Kelly Pottery and Alexandria Cummings.
Farm Spirit is open Wednesday to Saturday, with dining room seating starting at 5:30 p.m. and chef’s counter seating at 7 p.m. Dinner service includes 6 or more courses, plus snacks and surprises for $89. The Chef’s Counter Cascadian Tasting Menu experience is $109 and features several additional courses for the more adventurous diner. Dinners are reserved and pre-paid online exclusively via TOCK. Farm Spirit is a gratuity-free restaurant.