Farmstead Lunch (Providence, RI)

(Update: Alas, Farmstead Lunch (and the related cheese stand in Wayland) closed in 2014)

Providence is always surprising me.

Anyone that has followed the Providence food scene has been aware of Farmstead (the Wayland cheese shop) and their good reputation for supplying excellent cheeses.

Well, this spring the folks at Farmstead opened a small deli and sandwich shop in Downcity, one that several people were recommended that I try. So, this week, while passing through town to visit my grandpa down in Wickford, we stopped by for sandwiches.

I’m glad we did. From the very moment you walk through the door, Farmstead Lunch shows they’ve got a good handle on this situation, with an impressive array of cheeses and meats. Their motto is ‘Authentic. Artisan. American’, so they are really trying to highlight the best US domestic products, with extra emphasis on products from the area.

The meat case in particular had some very impressive Serrano and Italian hams in it.

However, the concept that brought us here was lunch, and they do a brisk business in sandwiches. Myself, I opted for the Jambon Beurre. I’ve always loved a well-made ham sandwich. Sure, it sounds pedestrian, but it’s really not. I’ve been lucky enough to experience a well-constructed jambon beurre sandwich (or better yet, a croque-monsieur, the French approach to the grilled cheese sandwich) in France that shows how truly sublime a well done ham and butter sandwich can be, provided you get the combination of quality ham , butter, and good bread. I’ve been lucky enough over the years to find a few places in the US that can do justice to the humble ham sandwich (such as the Aster Cafe in Minneapolis, who serves up a crusty baguette filled with slices of butter sweet, salty ham), but hadn’t found anything in this part of the country.

Until now. My Jambon Beurre from Farmstead was everything a good ham sandwich should be. This was one heck of an excellent sandwich; the bread was basically a good French-style crusted breaded, the ham being sweet and tender without being excessively salty, the butter (a *lot* of it) sweet and creamy, and the cornishons and Dijon mustard rounding it out nicely. Everything here was right, in flavor, in smell, in appearance, and texture. Seriously, if you’ve ever enjoyed a good ham sandwich, go try Farmstead’s Jambon Beurre, and you’ll really find out how good it can be.

Carol opted for the Lazy Spaniard, with Manchego cheese, quince paste, peppers, Serrano ham, and Chorizo. A very flavorful sandwich that really combined some wonderful spicy pepper notes with some nice cheese and quince flavors.

Farmstead is now my go-to place for a light lunch when I’m in Providence. Only downside we could find? No seating, so we had to resort to eating in the car (since it was quite the rainy day).

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