Farm Spirit owner-chef Aaron Adams knows decadence.
A decade ago, he ran one of the first organic locavore restaurants in Jacksonville, a high-end bistro serving foie gras to North Florida foodies.
When he became a vegan, he thought his days of cooking professionally were over. But now he has a very restrained and modern vegan restaurant slotted into a narrow space across from Nostrana.
Farm Spirit does modernist vegan cuisine, and aspires to be the best vegan restaurant in the world. It's prix fixe, and tickets are nonrefundable but transferable. Diners watch from their counter seats as Adams spoons sauces out of plastic containers and plates each course and sings along to Cass McCombs.
The modernist-leaning menu ($65 for nine courses) changes nightly to highlight ingredients that are not only vegan but locally sourced, and the entire operation is likely to go on hiatus in the shoulder season of April.
Our plates were creative and mostly satisfying. The first salad was served with a dressing of pureed sous vide peaches with a little pectin, packing acid and body into one lovely package.
A soup made with delicately sweet tomato water got nasturtium bud capers and an infusion of basil to make it, essentially, a clear-liquid version of a caprese salad. A slender Asian eggplant was quick-pickled, sous vide, grilled, smoked and lightly roasted then served atop an umami-intense pile of crushed, fried hazelnuts and a hazelnut yogurt that functioned as a wonderfully rich gravy. See: decadence.
Pro tip: The juice pairings are almost as expensive as the wine pairings. It seems silly to get juice, right?
GO: 1414 SE Morrison St., farmspiritpdx.com. Nine-course dinner at 7 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 12-course dinner at 7 pm Friday-Saturday. $$$$.