The Farm captures the spirit of Portland—at least, the one that every national magazine seems to have touted lately. Nestled on booming East Burnside Street a block west of the Doug Fir, this converted house tickles the hot Portland troika: local, organic and vegetarian—well, mostly vegetarian. Past a rack crowded with road bikes, the narrow dining space wraps through the restaurant's sultry decor. The Farm's menu boasts plenty of produce and leans on cheese for protein and flavor. Infused with savory herbs and crusted with toasted hazelnuts (a favorite ingredient here, so nut-phobes beware), the Farmhouse cheese ball is good enough to start a feud over. Each bite of the spicy, roasted-red-pepper gnocchi begins with a sharp hit of flavor that melts into a delectable warmth. The star of the menu, believe it or not, is tofu: In the herb-crusted entree with mushrooms Marsala, the meat substitute isn't just a necessary evil, but a working part of the dish. That's a feat worth tasting again. (ES)

Signature dish: The too-tasty-for-its-name Farmhouse cheese ball.

Standouts: Complex and tender herb-crusted tofu with mushrooms Marsala that asks no forgiveness for lacking meat.

Regrets: Expect a long wait without a reservation—even at 10 pm on a Tuesday.