Midwest Living Review
You might not expect to find excellent French food among the cornfields of rural Ohio, but the Malabar Farm Restaurant offers a unique dining experience that is definitely worth the drive through the rolling countryside near Mansfield. Fittingly enough, chef Dan Bailey emphasizes country French dishes and true to tradition makes them with wholesome, seasonal ingredients. He favors local meats and produce, much of which come from Malabar Farm, a nearby state park and working farm that also operates a roadside market next to the restaurant. The Pulitzer-prize winning author and screenwriter Louis Bromfield created Malabar Farm and pioneered sustainable agriculture there in the 1940s. Having lived in France for many years, Bromfield acquired an early 1800s home that was once a stagecoach stop and planned to turn it into an eatery with a French chef. That historic house is now the Malabar Farm Restaurant, where the ambience and the menu bring a taste of France to the Midwest. Two intimate dining rooms with pastoral views provide a lovely setting for leisurely meals accompanied by good wines. The satisfying fare includes French classics like croque monsieur, a grilled ham and fontina cheese sandwich for $7.95, and filet mignon chasseur, a hand-cut steak topped with an earthy mushroom sauce for $25.95.