We are lucky to have a world class dining experience just a stones throw from Seattle. Special occasion indeed, but don't make it too long before you return! Nothing but reverence for what this place does with it's farm fresh ingredients and stellar service!
This destination dining haute spot is famous for its lavish, leisurely meals that start with a tour of one of the herb gardens that supply the kitchen and end with sweet bites to take home. Dinners are themed throughout the year and you'd be smart to book a room at the neighboring Willows Inn to make this experience truly memorable.
Amazing food, wine and service. The Herb Farm was on my 'bucket list' for years, and I should not have waited so long! This was one amazing experience, from the exquisite service on all fronts, to the truly creative use of flavors, seasonings, focus of the 'theme' (this one was mushrooms & worth waiting for), and fantastic wines. We loved the back and forth insights into the pairings done by Bruce, the Sommelier, and Chris the head chef - who knows a stunning amount about food for his age. The hosts gave a fun intro about the herbs, passing them around to smell and/or taste, getting our taste buds ready for the wonderful meal. Loved the whole evening! Will return for sure and bring people who "get" great food and wine.
Most memorable dining experience. My girlfriend and I left our husbands at home as they would not have appreciated this indulgence. We drove up from Portland and made a weekend of it. It is an all evening food lovers indulgence and it felt like I was in a dream. This is not a place for those who want giant platters of average food, but you will find quality ingredients, to include hard to find items (locally harvested saffron) and amazingly thought out menus. The sommelier, Bruce, provided stunning facts about the wines poured and our glasses were always full. There was also an opportunity to sample other wine flights and I splurged on fabulous Krug Grand Cuvee. The Herbfarm is an experience, a destination, a food lover's dream. It is not an "in and out" big platter place, but then that is not what I was after either. I prefer the intricate details and the impressive quality of the ingredients they use. I have already decided that I will return and treat myself to this one of a kind place again.
Like Being Held Hostage for Over 5 Hours. My wife and I visited the Herbfarm with high expectations. Unfortunately, the experience was off putting from the moment we arrived. The food was mediocre at best. Courses are served on small dishes meant to showcase the fresh herbs grown at the "farm," which is really nothing more than a plot in front of the hotel. Overall the dishes served are one dimensional and almost flavorless. Most maddeningly, however, is the skimpiness of the wine service. Each course is served with a ridiculously small pour which is far too small to cover the excruciatingly slow service and inexplicably long intervals between courses. Consequently, most of the evening was spent making awkward conversation with strangers, wishing the evening would move along and having nothing but water to drink. The staff seems to feel that the evening is so stupendous that you won't mind a few hundred dollars in service charges or being at the table for hours on end with no wine or food. My wife finally left to go back to our room at midnight and it was about another 45 minutes until I was able to escape. Bear in mind we started the evening about 6:45pm. Do not bother as better food is available all over Woodinville for a fraction of the price and with none of the silly pretension. Please understand that my wife and I are pretty serious foodies and have eaten at some of the best restaurants in Europe and North America. The bill is usually not an issue when we dine, but when the lasting memories of the evening are of frustration and pain, the $300+/head we paid when all was settled up was simply outrageous.
Not Recommended - Average Food Outrageously Priced - Tourist Dining. My wife and I recently visited Seattle for our 25 Anniversary. After some research we decided to spend an evening at the Herb Farm. This was a major disappointment in nearly all respects. If it had not been such an important evening and so rediculously priced it would have been worthy of a "Stienfeld" espisode. The wines selected for the evening where below average, the presentation at the beginning of the dinner of each individual staff's resume was over the top and foolish, the attitude was poor. There was a sense that we should truely be honored to be in their presence. Very odd. The ingrediants were okay, presentation fair, overall dinner a major disappointment. I would agree with an earlier writer that this is not a European three star or one star experience. And yes, as stated in another review, dessert was ... wow - nonexistent. In the end we faced the same hidden charges - corkage eventhough we did not bring our own wine, mandatory gratuity, service charges etc. I cannot in good conscience ever recommed this restaurant.
not worthy of their attitude. The Herbfarm has a quite high opinion of itself, and unfortunately, it is not deserved. The food did not live up to expectations, or price. The food was mediocre- only the mussels were well prepared. In fact, soem dishes were inedible- main course of very bland lamb, "smoked" salmon, desserts were awful...They were not gracious about our desire to buy wine off the wine list- in fact charged us a $20 fee to open the bottle, which they sold us!! When questioned, about this "service charge" which was added to the bill- they said that "it was state law". All in all, very disappointing and we felt we could have spent our money more wisely elsewhere
Disneyland Dining - Major Disappointment - Diner Beware!.
Earlier this week we had the opportunity to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday at the Herbfarm. The four of us have travelled throuhout the United States and Europe and enjou dining in great restaurants. We anticipated that the Herbfarm would live up to our expectations. It decidedly fell short. The dinner included nine courses - only two were of note. The roasted lamb was the equivalent of boiled beef. The dessert consisted of smoked ice cream which was truely awful, an apple cobbler that was the equivalent of a Marie Calendar pie, and a peach belini that was simply colored ice. The other courses were all not up to the standards I would expect from a gourmet restaurant. What really did us in at the end was the poor attitude of the staff and a series of rediculous "service charges". We were well aware of the high price - $198 per person - not out of line for truely superb restaurants. What the do not tell you is the "service charge" to open wine purchased at the restaurant. In this case $20 for the honor to open a $120 bottle of wine from the restaurant's wine cellar. An additional $10 per person was charged for a flight of champagne ($65 per person). And so it goes - nickled and dimed. A
The Herbfarm advertises "Magical Memories". At best this was an overpriced Disneyland gourmet dinner - with attitude and served in a dining hall. Disneyland Gourmet at its best! Diner beware - this is a rip off.
If you have travelled through Europe and are looking for a Michelin Three Star Restaurant - or one star for that matter - this is definitely not the place.
Banquet hall approach to fine dining.
The format of the Herbfarm is hotel banquet, not restaurant. Everyone is seated at the same time. Then for each course waiters bring out hundreds of identical plates from the kitchen simultaneously. (!) Entrees are lukewarm or room temperature by the time you see the plate. Some preparation techniques (searing, broiling, sauteeing) are impossible for a banquet kitchen like this, so you can expect your dishes to be limited to whatever can be poached, braised, stewed or roasted. Personally, I find that banquet-style mass production is incompatible with the standards of a top kitchen.
The Herbfarm is definitely a restaurant with "attitude." Part of the price of admission is listening to a 30 minute introduction of the kitchen staff. (I'm not kidding; I was looking at my watch.)
The pairing of wines to food chosen by the restaurant is one of the better aspects. However, the whole experience sometimes can feel more like a wine party than a dinner. The ratio of wine to food is out of balance.
Three of the nine courses are desserts. (?!?)
The Herbfarm serves after-dinner tea. A basic mistake like this makes you wonder what else is wrong behind the scenes.
Overall, I would say that you have to be in just the right mood to put up with the Herbfarm's conceits. The cuisine itself can be flavorful and inventive. I have no doubt about the skills of the people involved in the kitchen. However, the banquet-oriented concept and dinner-show atmosphere are big drawbacks for me. Oh, and it costs more than $500 per couple.
exepnsive, but not your everyday menu. I had heard lots of good things about this restaurant, so when it came time for our wedding anniversary I made reservations. We attended the Herbal Atelier on a Sunday, early evening., and sat at a table for 2. During the garden tour, one of the owners passed around many flower blooms, herbs, etc... to smell/eat. The also give you a pig visit kit so that you can go out and feed/watch the pigs (they eat the leftovers) in between courses. My favorite items of our meal were the papalo-scented crab fritter, chilled tomato and roasted pepper soup and the cinnamon basil ice cream. Their service was the best that I have had anywhere in the greater Seattle area! I agree w/other reviewers that I could do without the individual bios of every single kitchen staff person, it got a little long. To contradict other reviewers, we had plenty of wine (never empty glasses), left completely full (we had barely eaten earlier that day), and felt like we had plenty of privacy for a romantic night. I would suggest it for anybody who wants to celebrate a special occasion or has $550 to use more often. We will definitely go back to try other themes.
I was dismayed when I saw all the one-star reviews on this site. After the experience I felt compelled to set the record straight. First, the room is simply spectacular. We didn't even have a great table (the first table nearest the entrance) and still it felt like no other place I've even been to. We sat at a communal table and fortunately, the other couples were interesting and fun. While not every bit was "knock your sock off" incredible, there were several dishes that were so unique and delicious to be memorable for a lifetime. The service was simply perfection.
That being said, here's a few suggestions: if the owner and chef are going to speak, they need to learn HOW to speak. They both seemed uncomfortable in the role and much of what they said simply could not be heard where we were seated. My biggest complaint is portion size. Some of the portions gave you nothing more than a mere droplet -- not even a full bite. There were times when it felt like I was in a movie parody of what "fancy" restaurants are like. When I got home, I was still hungry.
However, the main course was plentiful and spectacular and overall the food was amazing. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Worth Every Penny.
My experience at The Herbfarm was wonderful. I would say that you need to be prepared for the evening to enjoy it. Here are some suggestions: 1. Bring good company. It's going to be a long night. Dinner will last 5 hours. Save some good stories from the week to keep you going between courses.2. Be cool to the service staff and you will be rewarded. They deal with snobs expectant attitudes every night. Don't be that person and the wine will pour more freely than other tables. 3. Skip the garden tour and head to the Cook's Library. The view from the top will allow you to separate from the crowd. 4. If dining as a couple, insist on a table for two when making your reservation. If they can't make that work, find another night. 5. Arrange for transportation. From Seattle a town car will run $65-$80 each way depending on your corporate discounts. That will make the night equally fun for everyone. You?re spending $500 for dinner anyway, so you can obviously afford the additional for the car.
The owner is a little out there and the mass introduction is a bit self-indulgent, but isn't an over the top experience what you are paying for?
The portions were appropriate, the herb butter should be sold by the ton, the service was as visible as you needed it to be, and the experience worthy of a return. Some items were unbelievable. Others, not so much. But, there?s no way even the most accomplished home cook, or many of Seattle?s best could even come close to the delicate touch or skill exemplified here.
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