Saturday, November 15, 2014

Founding Farmers in Foggy Bottom, DC

Locally-sourced, artisanal, slightly eclectic, and classically American, if DC could be described in one single restaurant, this would be it. Founding Farmers is one of the most reviewed restaurants on Yelp for a reason. While the offerings read simple on the menu, every bite is made with the highest quality ingredients selected with upmost care to both the source and the customer. Translation: it's comfort food made incredibly well.

I first visited Founding Farmers about a year ago and have been wanting to return since but expert tip here: plan ahead and make a reservation at least two weeks in advance and get there on time with everyone in your party. Or just be ready to wait for a very long time.

The decor rustic but classic. I love all the bright bottles, wood finishes, art, and giant jars of pickles everywhere. It's a bit messy and chaotic, but well thought out chaos. 

Check out the giant jars of pickles though! I think these are actually ones they serve in the restaurant, and they are amazing! #pickleaddict 

So enough with the decor, let's get to what was on the table.

Prosciutto farm bread // fig + marscapone + balsamic // 8

Crunchy charred bread + creamy marscapone + salty prosciutto + sweet figs topped off with an impossibly thick balsamic glaze. Can I just say 'OH MY GOD' (in the Janice Litman voice - if you get this reference, then we should be friends)? Earthy and homey juxtaposed with the just the right amount of urbane sophistication made each bite intensely gratifying. 

Scratch soda // grapefruit // 5

I normally only order water in a restaurant, but Founding Farmers is a special exception. All the sodas are made in-house and the flavors are remarkably prominent. Sweet + citrusy with just a hint of grapefruit bitterness; it really is like drinking a bubbly grapefruit.

Spicy sausage pei mussels // 14

The best part about getting mussels is using the shells as a spoon to drink the soup. Bread is for the weak. While the mussels did have a slight bit of heat, they weren't particularly spicy for my tastes (but this is a Sichuan girl talkin' here), the broth was light, savory, and well rounded with the flavors of mussel juice and garlic. Oh, and it was super fun to poke around for the bits of sausage through the broth.

Chicken pot pie // 14

If you don't like chicken pot pie, then we *may* have a problem. It's one of the homey, easy to make dishes that just takes me home to the south. Calories and fat don't count for foods that are good for the soul. Because it's so versatile though, chicken pot pie has suffered a lot in quality (I'm looking at you, Stouffer's), but Founding Farmers really shows its dedication to quality here. The crust starts off as a crunchy, flakey pastry that breaks open to a soft and fluffy biscuit that covers a stick-to-yo-ribs (sorry my southern is showing) gravy of meaty chicken chunks and flavorful, textured vegetables. STAAAP. I'm salivating just typing this out. 

Uncle Buck's beignets // raspberry coulis + caramel sauce + semi-sweet chocolate sauce // 8

I really don't know who Uncle Buck is, but man makes a good beignet. I almost want to recommend that you plan your meal around this dessert unless you're like me and have a second stomach dedicated to desserts. Each batch is made-to-order, so plan to wait about 20 minutes (or if you're like me, you order dessert while you're still eating dinner), but it is so worth it. The beignets come out impossibly hot and crispy, covered in powered sugar, and when you bite into them, they automatically fall apart and the crunchy exterior gives way to a delicate, almost custard-like inside. Dip into the three provided sauce, double dip (shhh) and fight over the batch with your dining partners. 

So is the trip worth it? Absolutely! While Founding Farmers is a bit more expensive than I typically like to pay for a meal, every single dollar is worth it. Food is quality, artfully prepared, and well designed, atmosphere is down-right addictive, Founding Farmers really does live up to the hype.

And just thowin in another picture of the beignets for good measure.

Founding Farmers
Founding Farmers on Urbanspoon
1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20006