There is very little about Farm & Haus, the new full-service version of the East End Market vendor that took over the Cafe de France space on Park Avenue, that is farmy or hausy.
The decor is austere. The walls feature Art Deco-style light fixtures and sconces. Table tops are plain white marble. Each wall is lined with a hard-bench banquette. The facing chairs aren’t much more comfortable. The floor is white tile and the ceiling is high. With all those hard surfaces, it is loud and conversation is difficult.
The food is worth discussing. It is both good quality, as it is at the original location, and a bit odd, at least in the terms of the Cobb salad.
Because it wasn’t a Cobb salad. Salads Cobb are often misinterpreted. (I once had a reader insist to me that they are made only with ingredients that come off of a cob, which after corn leaves very little, including lettuce.) Named for Bob Cobb (parents can be cruel) of the Brown Derby restaurant, a Cobb salad should have greens, hard boiled egg, avocado, bacon, blue cheese and fried chicken breast, most of which Farm & Haus’s version had.
But what really distinguishes a Cobb is that all of the ingredients are chopped and, traditionally, presented in rows. The only thing chopped in F&H’s was the bacon. Very good bacon, it should be noted. But everything else was about as unchopped as it could be. And instead of blue cheese there was ranch dressing. The chicken was coated in a gluten free breading, which was as appealing as it sounds.
The biscuit breakfast sandwich had no traditional standard to live up to. It featured a nice biscuit with unchopped rashers of that same very good bacon, melted cheddar cheese, pulpy tomato, and a fried egg. (The menu said the egg would be scrambled but I didn’t mind; in fact I enjoyed the oozing yolk.) It was served with a stack of thin but good fries and a slightly spicy pickle.
Service was tentative. If you have limited time for lunch you should know that it took more than 25 minutes for the food to come out.
And if you choose to go there for a business luncheon to discuss business, good luck with that.
Farm & Haus is at 526 S. Park Ave., Winter Park (map). It is open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Monday. The phone number is 407-790-4371.