Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
Nestled along side the main drag in one of the several small towns of the Napa area is a quaint and charming general store, a Farmer’s Market, and a must stop restaurant. The Long Meadow Ranch has been in operation since just after the Civil War. During prohibition they were major suppliers of grapes, apples, and olives. In the late 1980’s it was purchased by the current owners the Hall family. Today the Long Meadow Ranch stretches over 2,000 acres in three different counties. They grow grapes, olives, various fruits and vegetables, while also running a pasture. Many of the ingredients that are served in the Farmstead restaurant come straight from the ranch directly.
The restaurant has an open and airy dining room, as well as a central open kitchen. You can enjoy small plates outside on the covered patio bar dining area as well as a full menu inside. We decided while waiting for our table to share two small plates and some beverages on the patio. The first dish was the Mini Ham sandwiches ($14). This dish comes with three small Prosciutto ham and pepper jelly that are served piled high on their fresh Cheddar biscuits. The sweet and salty ham mixed with the pepper jelly taste so good with the added super light and delicate to the touch biscuits. The only criticism I can possibly come up with is that with only three to the order they disappear too quickly.
The next item we shared while waiting for our table was an order of Warm Burrata ($16.50). This mozzarella cheese blend is firm on the outside and creamy on the inside. By serving it warm, it is easy to cut into and spread almost like butter. The name Burrata comes from the Italian word for butter for that reason. It is served with some grilled Italian bread, pickled onions, roasted garlic, small pickles, and fresh sliced cucumbers. The entire ball of Burrata is drizzled with their fresh farm pressed olive oil and some pressed herbs. This is a great plate for sharing with a group of four; you will just want to ask for some extra grilled bread.
Once we were seated, we looked over the menu that was full of some great options that ranged from salads to BBQ. The first item we ordered was a Salad of Garden Greens with added pulled chicken ($13). The lettuce is a mix of fresh field greens that is tossed with citrus vinaigrette dressing. There are slices of fresh strawberries and almonds. It is finished off with some Feta cheese crumbles. You can add pulled chicken, as we did, or pork for an additional fee ($7). The freshness of all the ingredients made it a wonderful light, yet flavorful salad.
We paired the salad with a bowl of their soup of the day, which was a delightful Tomato soup ($10). The soup had great depth of flavor and was a great compliment to the salad. The combination of both was a little more food than was expected as the bowl of salad and the bowl of soup each could have been enough on their own respectfully.
The next dish we ordered was the Grass-Fed Cheeseburger ($19). This was a huge beef patty served open face on a potato bun. The burger was accented with off the block graded Cheddar cheese. The bite of the cheese with the beef was perfect. It is also served with some fresh Arugula and for a slight charge some fresh avocado ($3). It is a very decent size burger that is cooked to requested temperature. The creaminess of the avocado and peppery arugula tied the whole cheeseburger together. To round out the plate, it comes with crispy potatoes as an added bonus.
We then took a bite of the Pulled Pork sandwich ($16.50). The pork is smoked for over 12 hours before it is turned into a sandwich. It is served on a potato bun with some of their in house made Cole slaw. It can be adorned with a perfectly cooked sunny side up fried egg ($3). The egg mixes in an added creaminess with the pork and really completes the meal. It is served with a large helping of creamy potato salad and a cup of their BBQ sauce.
The final main dish was Heritage St. Louis BBQ ribs ($31). The pork ribs are cooked in their smoker and have the perfect smoke and dry rub flavor. It is a full rack of ribs that they serve cut into three portions to make it easier to eat and serve. It comes with some Green Apple Cole slaw and a cup of their sweet BBQ sauce. The ribs are cooked so perfectly that they fall right off the bone with minimal effort with the fork or your teeth depending on your rib eating method.
We added a few side items to the table for sharing as well. The first was a big dish of Macaroni and cheese ($12). It is made with the same Vella cheddar cheese from the cheeseburger mentioned before. It is mixed with the cooked pasta and finished off in a cast iron skillet to make a crisp crust. When you dig into the macaroni, we were delighted to find some crisp bacon was in the mixture as well. The other side item we ordered was an order of the Cheddar Biscuits with honey butter ($8.50). These are the same biscuits that they use for the ham sandwich starter, but now served whole with butter. The creamy butter and the light biscuits may put you into a slight trance upon first bite.
After such a delightful meal and since we were camped out at the table enjoying a great conversation the meal had time to turn toward some dessert options. Isabel our extremely kind and friendly waitress highly recommended the Farmstead Cookie Jar ($10). This is a jar of House made cookies. On this visit the cookies were chocolate chip and sugar cookies. It comes in a jar with about 6 to 7 cookies. You will have a nostalgic feeling of being a young person reaching into the jar for a fresh cookie.
The final items we ordered, to pair with the cookies, were a couple of bowls of the restaurants fresh made in house sorbet and ice cream ($6). Each item comes with three scoops of the flavor of your choice. For the sorbet a trio of Raspberry was selected and for the Ice Cream vanilla. When you took a little of the cookie and the vanilla ice cream together, it was a fantastic flavor combination.
The ambiance of the entire restaurant site was amazingly comfortable and relaxing. The added outdoor space mixes perfectly through the glass walls that illuminate the inside space. Parking by the actual restaurant is sparse, so I would recommend looking in the lot adjacent to the restaurant on the side entry road. While the wait may sound long when you sign in, you will have plenty to keep you occupied on the exterior and can enjoy small dishes and a beverage while you wait. The entire experience was first rate, and I would highly recommend this place to anyone that would be in the area. There are great restaurants in the area and many people have their favorites but try Farmstead once and I can imagine you telling people that you are going to the farm instead.
Location and website – 738 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, http://www.longmeadowranch.com/eat-drink/restaurant