Debbie and I went to Farmers & Distillers with Sherry and Mike.
Farmers & Distillers is the latest addition and sixth restaurant in the Founding Farmers group of restaurants.
The restaurant seats 310 people in a variety of seating options ranging from booths for two to booths that can handle up to six people. There is also a bar area and a section of four top tables. Just past the greeter station there is an area where a variety of delicious looking donuts are being prepared.
There were some notes online about people waiting an especially long time to be seated when they arrived at the time of their reservation. In our case we were seated in about 10 minutes.
We were seated in a booth at the far end of the restaurant to the right. It could not have been a more perfect place. First, the heart of the restaurant is pretty noisy but in our location it was not very noisy at all. I also noted that the booth was quite comfortable, particularly as to the amount of room between the benches of the booth and the table itself.
The menu is quite extensive. In fact, it is the most extensive menu that I recall. By my count there are 139 separate items on the regular menu plus 23 desserts. It is the perfect example of why it is a good idea to review the menu online before going to a restaurant for the first time.
Sherry, Debbie and Mike (the other Mike) shared a vodka- based drink from the menu called a “Cucumber Delight.” It was served in a “copper-like vessel” shaped like a pineapple.
Corey was our server. He turned out to be as good as any server I can recall even though he had only been at the restaurant for four months. He was well informed about the menu. He first took our order for appetizers.
Sherry ordered Whirley Pop, kettle corn, made-to-order. Corey had to tell her that the restaurant was out of kettle corn. As an alternative Sherry ordered the Italian Sunday, romaine, aged provolone, fennel, oregano, red onion, and red wine vinaigrette. Debbie ordered Local “raclette”, melted cheese, warm white boule, and pickled vegetables. Mike ordered two items; Polpette, beef & pork meatballs with red sauce and an Apple & Stilton Blue salad, with romaine, shaved celery and roasted tomatoes.
I did something different. I ordered an entrée as an appetizer because I wanted to try it but also wanted a different entree. I ordered Cauliflower Steak, roasted heirloom carrots and parmesan grits. I did not come close to finishing it. Before the appetizers arrived a fresh baked loaf of bread was delivered to the table.
For their main course Mike and Sherry decided to share an order of BBQ Fried Chicken, romaine, kale, cabbage, apple, pickled green beans, feta, onion “comeback sauce” and lemon dressing.
Debbie ordered Steak Frites Béarnaise, with French fries and roasted tomato.
I picked Hong Kong Style premium white fish (on this evening it was cod) savory soy broth, sautéed bok choy and white rice. (The bowl of white rice was enough to feed the table and then some.)
I had enjoyed the cauliflower so much that I asked Corey to see if he could find out how it was made. He said he would see what he could do. A bit later a fellow approached our table led by Corey. He introduced himself as David, the sous chef.
Once he introduced himself around the table I asked him how the cauliflower was prepared. He said he starts by cutting a whole cauliflower in half. It is then blanched in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and allowed to cool. After that it is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, and pesto. Then with a smile he said there were several other ingredients that would remain a secret.
For dessert Debbie ordered AFFOGATO with vanilla bean. Sherry ordered Salted Caramel Ice cream with chocolate sauce. (Sherry asked for hot fudge but they do not have it.) Mike ordered a Cinnamon Sugar donut with vanilla ice cream. I ordered a scoop of chocolate ice cream and a scoop of salted caramel.
Each course was delivered in a timely fashion.
Directly to the right as you enter the men’s room are two white ceramic wash basins sunk into a heavy dark wood counter. Hanging on the wall over the wash basins is a large mirror.
Straight ahead are three wall-handing urinals without any dividers between them. They are so close to each other that there is no way for three full size males to use them at the same time. To the left of the urinals is a fully enclosed room in which there is a single white commode. The walls inside the commode room are covered to shoulder height with very large brown wood like square and triangular designs. Above shoulder height the walls are painted brown.
The floor of the entire restroom is covered with square and triangular designed flooring.
Parking is available at a very large parking garage in the 600 Mass Ave building. The restaurant provides a voucher to be used when leaving the garage.
Farmers & Distillers
600 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001