A friend and I decided to meet at Founding Farmers DC for dinner one random Tuesday in March. I have been here several times for breakfast/brunch but never for dinner and was looking forward to finally blogging about it. Founding Farmers is a widely popular restaurant in DC that is generally always packed for brunch, and dinner was no different. While we got there early for dinner (5:45pm), by the time we left, the waiting area was packed! I highly recommend making a reservation for this place or getting here extremely early. You will definitely be waiting either way but the reservation at least shortens the wait time significantly. A friend of mine shared that she was waiting for a table and guy without a reservation next to her went on opentable.com website, made a reservation on the spot, and was seated rather quickly. That apparently ticked her off and made her not interested in returning but I believe that reservations are the name of the Founding Farmers dining game.
Founding Farmers has three locations in the DMV area but I have only visited the DC location at 1924 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20006. It is a few blocks away from the Farragut West metro stop. The reason why I do not frequent the restaurant more often is the lack of parking. It frustrates me to drive around looking for a space on Pennsylvania Avenue and I hate having to pay for parking so this aspect of the restaurant really frustrates me. Usually, I will meet up with a friend who lives close and she will drive for us both.
My friend and I were seated right way when I arrived on time for our reservation. She had ordered a drink at the bar while she waited for me to arrive. We sat on the first floor just on the other side of the bar which was different than my usual visits where I generally sit on the second level. The restaurant layout is tight but they are trying to accommodate as many people as possible. To keep with the rustic and farmer theme and decorations, water is served out of a glass canteen and when I asked for sparkling water, they were able to provide that in the canteen free of charge! So that is a bonus that I can appreciate.
Due to my limited diet for Lenten season, I was unable to eat red meat or pork and anything fried. This presents a problem at this restaurant that I want to address. Much of the selections at the restaurant are heavily dependent on the use of pork fat, red meat, or being fried. And while this is great for non-health conscious people, this can be problematic for others. The Garlic Black Pepper Wings ($10) appetizer were thankfully roasted or broiled so I was able to enjoy the wings. In the past, I have enjoyed the very popular Glazed Bacon Lollis ($10) which is basically roasted bacon on a stick/skewer. I was also interested in the Spicy Sausage PEI Mussels ($14) but that would have to be for another time. The wings were good but not great. They were served with green onions on top and a lime but came out a little more charred than I was anticipating. The lime squeezed on top, by the recommendation of the server, was a welcomed addition but again, it was not spectacular.
Additional items that are popular on the menu:
As a main dish, I decided to order the Rotisserie Chicken ($16) with drip pan potatoes and Brussel sprouts as my choice side. For the price, I will say that a half chicken with two sides at a sit down restaurant was pretty fair priced. Unfortunately, I have been spoiled by the local Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurants and nothing else seems to compare for me. This chicken was seasoned well and moist but it was nothing like the seasonings and flavors of my local chicken spots. I ended up eating 2 pieces of chicken and saving the rest for later and was not very excited about eating the leftovers, though I try not to waste food. The potatoes were good but a bit blander than I was expecting since I thought they would be cooked with the juices from the chicken. The maple roasted Brussel sprouts were good but mainly because of the bacon fat seasoning. I cook roasted Brussel sprouts almost every week and do not use pork fat to season them and they are spectacular. But, if you do not like the taste of Brussel sprouts and need a major flavor enhancer, these would be the side for you.
My friend ordered the Shrimp and Grits ($19) with Andouille sausage. Presentation of the dish was a bit less than desired but she really enjoyed the flavors. There were large pieces of shrimp with a generous helping of grits with a gravy sauce with the sausage. She said that the flavor came together well but had to take part of her meal home too due to the generous serving. Again, this was another dish of the restaurant that was heavily dependent of the flavors from pork fat. This is not a criticism since I also use pork fat for my shrimp and grits dish but a point that you should be aware of before dining.
One of my favorite things to order here for dessert is the Uncle Buck’s Beignets ($9) served with a raspberry coulis (sauce), caramel sauce, and semi-sweet chocolate sauce. Beignets are amazing and always remind me of New Orleans, and when I see them on a menu I get excited. But I have never had them with a sauce addition. These beignets are more like doughnut holes due to their shape that are sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are served piping hot and the flavors of them alone are wonderful. The three sauces add an additional component that takes the treat to a different level. My favorite is the raspberry sauce and the chocolate sauce.
However, due to my fried food restriction, I opted to try something different and go with the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake ($8) served with a seasonal compote topping. I requested the raspberry sauce from the beignets dessert, and luckily, that that was the seasonal compote topping of the day anyway. I am quickly becoming full blown lactose intolerant but I am in denial so the enjoyment of this dessert ended rather quickly. I wish they served it with a bit more of the sauce but I think it was probably enough. I am the biggest fan of cheesecakes at the Cheesecake Factory due to the richness of the cake. However, this cake was pretty amazing. The cake was rich, sweet, and delicious and enhanced by the amazing raspberry sauce. The crust was also an added bonus that complimented the cake wonderfully. This was definitely a treat that I ended up having to leave about half behind because about midway through my enjoyment, I could feel my stomach rejecting the dairy. Time to go!
Here are a few selections from the breakfast/brunch and a few pictures of their brunch buffet at the Tyson Corner location:
Overall, my friend and I had a wonderful dinner together and were able to enjoy the restaurant without it being overly crowded. Our waiter was very friendly and gave some excellent recommendations but a bit awkward with the jokes. The food was pretty good but this visit’s selection did not leave me wanting more like I had in the past. Again much of my excitement was due to the beignets. Together, our total was $58.30 with my individual amount of $29.15 and after paying the full tip to account for my dessert, a total of $41.15. Not bad for a dinner for two in DC. I will be back to enjoy this place again on one of my cheat days when I’m done with Lenten season. The following is my Seven Mac Score for the restaurant:
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Please look of my next post as I share more dining experiences in and around Baltimore and DC, and my trip to Los Angeles. Also, you can find me on Instagram @finediningdiva and twitter @moderndaybeauty. Also, if you would like to follow my blog to receive notification when a new blog is posted, please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember: It’s a BIG world and we are going to eat our way through it!