On a recent evening, I joined several sorority sisters for a supper club outing to Jean Farris. Having never been there before I wasn't sure where I was going or what to expect in terms of the food. It was a beautiful day and therefore a great day to drive a good 5 miles through the countryside. It's not hard to miss it with the grapevines lining the road, even though I did!
Our group was one of only maybe 3 the entire evening. I can only assume this was due to the fact it was a weeknight. I'm sure it's hopping on the weekends - at least I hope so. The restaurant itself was almost barn-like from the outside and very open and somewhat cavernous on the inside. The bathroom was very nice (you know you can tell a lot about a restaurant from the restrooms!) and everything was very clean and nicely appointed.
The menu is very expansive and divided into four courses. After seeing the portions, I sincerely doubt anyone could eat 4 courses in one setting. I couldn't seem to get past the descriptions on the appetizer listing, or second course. I contemplated trying to make 2 of them work together for my meal but I couldn't seem to make it work. It's a little hard to justify both a ravioli and a gnocchi dish. And somehow shrimp tostada just doesn't sound like it'd pair well with pasta of any kind. After hearing the soup of the day, Butternut Squash and Shrimp Bisque, I thought I could combine that with one of the pasta dishes for a perfect amount of food. Or so I thought...
The soup was definitely butternut squash, as told by the golden color, but shrimp? Um, where? I would think if you used shrimp in a soup you would not want to puree it with the rest of the soup. Well they did. Either that or they used shrimp broth and decided that was enough to add the word "shrimp" to the title. Either way, it was disappointing. The soup itself was fine but was extremely thick and didn't really have the depth of flavors I was hoping for.
Next up was the Baked Gnocchi. I was tempted to put the word baked in quotes because the only baking going on here was the melting of 2 whole sticks of butter! While the gnocchi were literally pillow-soft, the amount of butter they were floating in was revolting. My girlfriend and I both ordered this as our meal and both were sickened by the amount of pure butter. She joked that at least with a cream sauce the butter and fat is disguised but not here. It's really a shame because the mushroom ragout and aged goat cheese were a fantastic topping on the dish but I just couldn't get past the butter.
As I mentioned earlier, all of the dishes were huge. Our "appetizers" were large enough for a meal. The entrees that everyone else got were also enormous. There's a point where super-sized portions are just too much. I've grown to really appreciate the smaller, more appropriate portions that many establishments have gone to. Two pieces of fish just is not necessary - no wonder America has such an obesity issue.
All in all, the menu has good concepts. I would advise the chef to tweak his recipes a bit and focus more on the components than the size. I would like to go back and try other items to be fair and make a more well-rounded review. I won't rush back tomorrow but I also won't cross it off my list.