This post is written by Doug Roberts.
Jean Farris Winery & Bistro has just been added to my list of favorite places on my business travel, not just for the delicious gourmet food, or the wine, but the lovely scenery.
As I have written about before, I frequently use the OpenTable app to make reservations or to find new restaurants. Last week I was in Lexington KY and I pulled up OpenTable to make reservations at Azur, my favorite Lexington dinning spot, but noticed there were several restaurants offering 1000 dinning points (normal is 100). This is very enticing. It takes 50 meals at 100 points each to earn a $50 dinning voucher. It takes 5 meals at 1000 points to earn the same $50 voucher, so I will always try a new spot for 1000 points.
Open Table offered three restaurants to choose from, and I selected Jean Farris Winery and Bistro. I was very pleased when I drove up through the grape vines to get to the small restaurant in the countryside outside of Lexington, which is a beautiful area full of farms of all varieties. They have a beautiful outdoor dinning area surrounded by fields and barns. It was a perfectly serene setting to sit with a glass of wine to relax and unwind from a long work day. This evening I have the patio completely to myself, which at times might be a bit depressing, but for my current mood, it is perfect.
My server, Kate, who is normally the bar tender, suggested a glass of Tempest 2009, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend. It sounded great but when I tasted it, I thought it was sour, so I asked if she could open a fresh bottle. She did and it tasted exactly the same. I’m not sure if it were two bad bottles in a row or this just wasn’t hitting my palate right. I changed directions and went with the limited production 2009 Malbec, the only one from Kentucky. I felt bad, but it was the right call and Kate was happy to accommodate. I LOVED the Malbec. It was very rich and robust with a long smokey smooth finish.
The menu at Jean Farris is seasonal. The herbs, heirloom tomatoes and many of the vegetables are grown on the property.
My server recommended the Flat Bread starter with Olive Oil, Basil Pesto, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Mozzarella. This is right up my alley, but when I informed her I was trying to cut out bread, she suggested the Lettuce Wraps with Pulled Duck, Red Peppers, Local Mushrooms, and Kentucky Limestone Bibb. All I can say is WOW! They were great.
Jean Farris Winery & Bistro offer a charcuterie selection of meats and cheeses that were very tempting, as well as several salads, but I passed and went right to the entree. Kate presented me with the specials but nothing called my name. There were many great entree selections to choose from on the menu, including scallops, lamb, halibut, duck, and more, but being on a diet and a budget, I went with the Garden Pasta with daily Harvested Garden Vegetables, Linguine, Cilantro Pesto and White Wine Sauce. It was divine!
However, a little way into it, I got to thinking some sausage would be a great addition, so I ordered the daily house-made sausage off the charcuterie selection, which today was a Thuringer Sausage, very unique and delicious. I sliced up and added to my pasta. Perfection!
I had no intention of ordering desert, but I of course have to see the menu. There were some nice options including Cobbler with Seasonal Fruit and house made Ice Cream and Sticky Sorghum Cake with Hazelnut Ice Cream. It was very tempting, but I passed on the deserts. I could have spent a lot more, but I left full, satisfied and happy that I had a very healthy meal with a great glass of wine for under $50.
My only disappointment was that so few people were here. Granted, it was Tuesday evening, so hopefully they are much busier on the weekends, but this place deserves to be packed every night. The food and service are both excellent and the outdoor seating is wonderful. Please Lexington folks, don’t let this all go to waste. 1000 points may have lured me here, but I will be back, points or no points.
Jean Farris winery is open for happy hour Tuesday through Sunday from 3:30 to 6:30 offering half price wine glasses.
6825 Old Richmond Rd. (859) 263-9463. Wine-tasting bar hours: noon-9 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. Restaurant hours: 5:30-close Tue.-Sun.; brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat, Sun.