Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Founding Farmers Version 2011

Founding Farmers: Heapin' Plate of Fried Chicken and Waffles

For better or worse, dining out is dynamic.  A few years ago, I ceded to the hype and tried Founding Farmers, which is honest-to-God owned by a collective of American family farmers.  The restaurant sources  fresh products from family farms, ranches, and fisheries from across the United States.  In the words of Ina Garten, how bad could that be?  Unfortunately, my first impressions: great concept, terrible execution--my original meal there was characterized by lack luster preparations and muted flavor. 

On the insistence of  friends, I gave the restaurant another go last month and this time found Founding Farmers to be thoroughly impressive: attentive service, hearty portions, robust flavors, and reasonable prices.

Our meal started off with some flavorful drinks.  I enjoyed the potent Grandma's Blackberry Sour, a refreshing concoction of Rittenhouse 100, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, blackberries, and a bit of egg white for binding.  And B, surprised himself when he discovered a robust Cabernet Sauvignon, from IDAHO...how often do you find wine--and a very good wine at that--from America's Heartland?!

The menu trends toward comfort food.  A heaping plate of fried chicken, waffles, and macaroni and cheese was absolutely satisfying covering both the savory (chicken) and the sweet (waffles) with a bit of extra carbs (mac and cheese) thrown in for good measure.  The skirt steak and enchilada had just the right amount of heat; the meat was flavorful and incredibly tender, and the enchilada oozing with cheese was a nice contrast.  And dessert reminded me of childhood, as the towering cakes are served with a softball sized scoop of ice cream.  While not the best red velvet cake in DC, it was great for a crowd and the cream cheese icing was finger licking good with its tangi-sweetness.

The biggest challenge of the evening was making it through the monster portions.  But with most entrees between $16 - 18, this is a great choice for group dinners with varying pallets in the heart of DC.

Founding Farmers on Urbanspoon

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