The Sampler

The Farmhouse Cafe

The faint-of-heart diner never escapes the gravity of Nashville’s galaxy of eateries.

But for those of a slightly more adventurous nature, willing to strike out across the countryside seeking new vistas of gustatory delights, a pleasant drive through the countryside yields a pleasant place to stroll, sightsee, and enjoy one of Brown County’s best dining experiences.
If you haven’t made the journey to The Farmhouse Café and Tea Room, you’re in for a treat. If you’ve already found out about it, I don’t have to convince you that it is worth a second seating.

Just three miles east of Bean Blossom, a short, scenic drive from downtown Nashville through those storied hills of Brown County, you’ll discover a charming place of flowers, trees, shrubs, and herbs (the herb barn) next to an 19th century red brick farmhouse.

I recently re-visited the Farmhouse Café with my beautiful kitchen companion for dinner and a look-see. It was all as I had remembered—pleasantly appealing, almost enchanting.

There’s something about the dining room—the brick walls, the jumble of mis-matched antique furnishings, the deft decorations—that seems genuine. Authentic. Real. It is a masterpiece of Brown County folk meets French country farmhouse.

And the food is good, too!

I had already tried the summer chicken breast with spinach stuffing (recommend) and shared a taste of the Brown County grilled pork chop (yummy). This time, I wanted to sample one of the great Farmhouse salads—unusual, delectable and oh-so good for you.

There’s an asparagus and orange salad, with heirloom tomato slices, crispy green lettuce and spinach tossed in a light herbal vinaigrette dressing; an avocado and smoked fish salad with cucumbers, cilantro, mustard seed and other spices; and a chicken papaya salad with avocado and honey-lemon balm dressing.

There’s also a curried chicken salad served over a bed of colored penne pasta and a summer greens and herb-seasoned shrimp salad with fresh tomato slices, artichoke hearts, red bell pepper, red onion, avocado, and egg slices.

Feeling fruitarian? There’s a fresh fruit salad with strawberries, raspberries, orange slices, bananas, grapes, kiwis, blueberries, and pineapple drizzled with a delicious light and creamy yogurt topping. Also a mixed fresh melon salad with honeydew, watermelon, and cantaloupe balls served with raspberries or strawberries, and a mint garnish.

I had my sights set on the chef salad. Something about spring and all the plants and greenery, I guess. You can tell a lot about a restaurant, and about a chef, by simply ordering the chef salad.

Mrs. Sampler opted for the Farmhouse pasta special—sautéed shrimp over herb and vegetable-accented angel-hair pasta.

From what I hear, the steak is a great option for hungry meat-lovers and there’s also a grilled Atlantic salmon.
While awaiting our meals, we tried the soup of the day, a creamy tomato and herb concoction which led to a quick round of “Guess That Seasoning!” It was basil and maybe some thyme, possibly tarragon. This is where our opinions diverged. There was just a taste of Parmesan.

The food arrived, and was as good as I had anticipated. The shrimp and pasta was light, aromatic, and satisfying.
The chef-salad was a near masterpiece—a nice mix of greens supporting a delectable assortment of red and gold bell pepper slices, ripe black olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, sliced eggs, and other goodies. I opted to add turkey, ham, and cheese. It proved a wise investment.
They bring you chips and salsa to start, and what with the soup and the giant salad and all, well, I’m afraid there just wasn’t any room left for the delicious dessert menu, including home-made pie, cheesecake with fresh fruit, carrot cake, and various ice creams and sherbets.

The Farmhouse Café also has a splendid lunch menu, including a couple of very attractive healthy/light options: the “Cool as a Cucumber and Then Some Sandwich,”—a little whole wheat bread with delicious herbal cream cheese spread and slices of fresh cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, and alfalfa sprouts; plus a full-on “Garden Lovers Vegetarian Sandwich”—fresh avocado, tomato slices, thinly-sliced red onion and alfalfa sprouts, topped with melted cheese on wheat bread browned in a Parmesan and herbal butter sauce.

Other lunch sandwiches deserving future attention include the Farmhouse ham sandwich, Herb Barn chicken salad sandwich, Bean Blossom turkey sandwich and “Brown County’s Best BLT.”

Some experiences in life require more of us—we must seek them out and find them. But we often discover these are the most charming experiences, whose reoccurrence we gratefully welcome.

You’ll find The Farmhouse Cafe and Tea Room at The Flower & Herb Barn located at 5171 Bean Blossom Road. You can reach them at (812) 988-2004 or <farmhousecafeandtearoom.com>.