At the Table: Open kitchen, creative cuisine, cocktails in spotlight at Glens Falls restobar Farmacy

Left: Pork belly and bay scallops on a vintage plate at Farmacy (all the plates and silverware are mix-and-match, with patterns you’d find in grandma’s attic); Right: Oysters with freshly ground horseradish and a mignonette sauce in a dropper bottle. (Karen Bjornland/For The Daily Gazette)
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Left: Pork belly and bay scallops on a vintage plate at Farmacy (all the plates and silverware are mix-and-match, with patterns you’d find in grandma’s attic); Right: Oysters with freshly ground horseradish and a mignonette sauce in a dropper bottle. (Karen Bjornland/For The Daily Gazette)

GLENS FALLS — Dazzling orange flames leap from the stove. Cooking pans sizzle and crackle. The chefs — three of them — chop and stir.

At Farmacy in Glens Falls, one can watch the chefs do their thing from sidewalk tables below the front window or step inside and take a seat at a chef’s table, a counter that’s inches from the action.

Has there ever been anything like this in Glens Falls?

“I’ve never been to a place where the kitchen is the first thing you see,” says Hubby.

You’ll find Farmacy — a restobar that’s as much about imaginative drinks as it is about experimental farm-to-table food — on Ridge Street, which is home to two other chef-owned restaurants: Radici Kitchen & Bar and Morgan & Co. Since chef AJ Richards and wife Christina opened Farmacy in April 2019, it has become the talk of the town, not only for its kitchen theatrics but occasional comedy nights and drag queen Sunday brunches.

At 6 p.m. on a Monday, one of the chefs waved hello as we were ushered to a reserved table in the back of the restaurant. When we asked for a table closer to the action, we were moved to the bar, as the chef’s table was booked. We were more than happy with our new seats, as we had a clear view of the chefs, and we could watch the bartender mix and shake those crazy cocktails.

Hubby sipped a tequila concoction and I savored a malty brown ale as we perused the menu, which is divided into small, medium and large plates. House-made sourdough bread, baba ghanoush, blistered shishito peppers, lobster rolls, grilled fennel, steak tacos and a radish three ways (tempura, pickled, pesto) are on the list.

A half-dozen oysters, Hubby’s small-plate choice, were the first to appear. Nestled in a dish of small pebbles, the shellfish circled a half lime crowned with a feathery white cap of freshly shredded horseradish.

“What the heck is this?” he said as he picked up a medicine-dropper-type bottle filled with a pale yellow liquid. A check of the menu revealed it as mignonette sauce, a vinegar potion to squirt on the oysters.

We noticed right off that all the serving plates and silverware are mismatched vintage pieces, another fun touch.

Our large plates arrived together, Pork Belly & Scallops with mashed potatoes as a substitute for coconut rice for him, and a Vegan Stuffed Pepper with roasted jackfruit and coconut shallot sauce for me.

Hubby gave his dish a thumbs up even though I found it a bit dull, possibly because he opted out of the rice. But I must sing the praises of my stuffed green pepper, which was so delectable that it alone will bring me back to Farmacy.

I was in love from the moment I dipped my fork in the cascade of creamy coconut sauce that flowed over the fat, upright pepper and on to the plate. Extreme coconut flavor with a bit of tang contrasted nicely with the texture and heat of the rice, chunks of jackfruit and tender pepper. This is vegan comfort food at its very best.

Because of an ordering snafu, my Little Field Farm Salad was the last dish to show up. Fresh frilly lettuce was fanned out over a pool of chipotle cheddar dressing and sprinkled with an assortment of nuts dusted with cocoa powder. But where was the smoked duck heart? This was disappointing. Maybe it was chopped along with the nuts, but I couldn’t find it.

Our dessert, Red Velvet Cookie Sandwich, was a winner and the perfect size for sharing; a chocolate trifecta of slippery mousse, cool chevre ice cream and brownie-like cookie. The presentation could use a tweak, however — maybe a collar of whipped cream or a bit of fresh fruit.

After dessert, we lingered, mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the kitchen a few feet away. And as the restobar filled with customers, there was more to see, like a lineup of yellow-colored cocktails in glasses shaped like bongs (glass tubes for smoking marijuana). Called a Bong Appetit, this feel-good mezcal drink features a plume of CBD smoke, like a magical witch’s brew.

Our bartender/server, who explained the bong beverage, apparently noticed our fascination with the open kitchen.

“You can hang out and watch them cook,” he said. “There’s no rush.”

NAPKIN NOTES

Jackfruit is a bumpy tropical fruit from Southeast Asia. Dense, nutritious and easily shredded, it’s a trendy vegan ingredient. At Birch Bark Eatery, a vegetarian Shangri-La that’s also on Ridge Street in Glens Falls, they make BBQ jackfruit sandwiches.

Farmacy

WHERE: 22 Ridge St., Glens Falls; 518-409-8451; www.farmacygf.com, Facebook, Instagram
WHEN: 5-9 p.m. Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, brunch on Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $81 without drinks, tax and tip
MORE INFO: Reservations suggested. Takeout available.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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