The restaurant is nestled in the Sammamish Valley, right next to the Willows Lodge resort and its restaurant, The Barking Frog. Less than a kilometer down the road is the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. All the high-falutin’ wine-snob destinations in one convenient location. (Right behind is the Redhook Brewery, if you tire of the whole urbane ambience and just want a beer and a sandwich.)
Actually, the word “restaurant” doesn’t do the Herbfarm justice. It’s really a “total dining experience”. The evening begins at 4pm with a tour of the herb garden. After heading inside, you are introduced to the evening’s menu and the restaurant staff. (This restaurant has a staff mushroom forager!) Once the introductions are complete, the nine-course five-hour meal begins.
For posterity, I record the menu below.
A Fete for the Sun
The Herbfarm • Sunday, July 24, 2005
From the Water’s Edge
Paddlefish Caviar on Cucumber Gelée
Westcott Bay Mussel Skewer
Razor Clams with Sea Beans
1999 Argyle Oregon Brut
Spice-Crusted Pacific Albacore
On a Salad of Beets, Wasabi, and Dill
2003 Rulo Winery Viognier, Walla Walla
Dungeness Crab, Chanterelle, & Lamb’s Quarter Lasagna
2004 Dr. Loosen/Chateau Ste. Michelle “Eroica” Riesling
Troll-Caught Sockeye Salmon
Slow Roasted in Squash Blossoms
With Zucchini Strands and Sorrel-Lemon Thyme Sauce
2004 Chinook Wines Rosé of Cabernet Franc
Tarragon Ice & Apricot Float
Three Tastes of Muscovy Duck
Lavender-Crusted Breast on Onion Pudding
With Black Currant Sauce
Duck Confit with Just-Dug Potatoes
Slow-Braised Leg on Morel Risotto
2002 Cougar Crest Reserve Syrah, Stellar Vineyard
An Herbfarm Garden Salad
With Currants & Sally Jackson Guernsey Cow Cheese
Sonata of Summer Desserts
Anise Hyssop Panna Cotta with Raspberries
Marionberry-Rose Geranium Ice Cream Cone
Almond-Filled Donut Peach with Lemon Verbena Yogurt Ice Cream
Brewed Coffees, Teas & Infusions
A Selection of Small Treats
Vintage 1916 Barbeito Malvazia Madeira
Multigrain Rolls & Herbed Foccacia
Between the duck and salad courses, we stepped outside to feed the pigs.
The preliminary tour of the herb garden primed me to appreciate the extensive range of herbs employed in the various dishes. (We also learned herb trivia—daylilies are edible, as are zucchini and chive blossoms. I found this part most fascinating, learning about herbs and how the various elements were chosen for the dishes to come.) The garden salad, it seemed, didn’t have two leaves from the same plant!
If you’re considering paying the Herbfarm a visit, be warned: You need to make reservations months in advance, and the evening will set you back a pretty penny.
And we did pay the bill before we left.