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farmerbrown chowdown

Two rotating tables of hounds arrived tonight for happy hour at farmerbrown. The place was slammed in part due to great reviews in last Sunday's Chron and today's Examiner. The servers seemed a little overwhelmed, but food didn't really suffer.

Drinks are half price until 7. Among us, we tried the hibiscus blossom (delicious), watermelon margarita, fresh ginger beer, and whatever the peach drink was.

We shared fries, greens, seafood gumbo, fried chicken, trout with green beans, pulled pork sandwich, cornbread stuffing, and mac and cheese. The mini corn muffins and biscuits with pepper jam also filled the table.

And for dessert, bourbon pecan pie and strawberry rhubarb pie.

Servings were large, and prices are reasonable. The check for the last group came to $20 each including tip and no one left hungry.

My personal favorites were the fried chicken, French fries, the first order of greens, and amazing pecan pie with fresh whipped cream and strawberries that had an almost chocolate-y texture. (I don't care much for pecan pie as a rule.) I was impressed with both the quality of ingredients and care given to their preparation; nothing was overcooked, and most dishes were generously spiced. Blue Bottle coffee was muddy, though, and cocktails were more innovative than memorable, or strong.

We did have to vacate one table (given to us as a walk in) and wait at the bar for a later one (which had been reserved). And given that we were sharing everything, it would have made sense to stagger the dishes rather than trying to fit them all on the table at once. But service was helpful and attentive. Music is on the loud side and only grew louder.

We were also the only table with a little girl. Given the instant popularity of farmerbrown, this might be a good place to go with a smaller party until the buzz dies down. They do serve late, and there were plenty of tables free by the time we left. All in all, very good food, and fun to meet a few hounds.

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  1. The fried chicken was crispy and juicy with just the right amount of spicing to enhance the 'chicken' flavor without overwhelming it...It comes with Mac and cheese which was good, not overcooked...so no mushy macaroni..very 'cheddar cheesy' (not velveeta)..the plate was cleaned!
    The little corn muffins had a nice cornmeal grit to them and I enjoyed the strawberry/pepper jam accompaniment.
    The greens were chewy (in a good way) garlicky.vinegary. and smokey..very good.
    My friends pork loin was crusty but still slightly pink (personally, I would order it as rare as possible..137 degrees!! but that's just me)
    The pecan pie with fresh whipped cream and strawberries was warm and gooey with whole tasty pecans.. and one of the best, if not THE best version of this pie that I have experienced!
    Farmer Browns is not yet open for lunch, but they are planning to be in the near future, so they said.
    Thanks to Windy for putting this together, I'm looking forward to the next outing!

    1. I, too, enjoyed the company of the other Chowhounds at the first "seating." I thoroughly enjoyed my fried chicken dinner platter.These three perfectly fried pieces were the crispiest I have ever encountered while still maintaining a juicy interior. I liked the fresh watercress garnish and mac and cheese side. I agree with Windy, the Watermelon margarita was disappointing despite the novelty of a cayenne/salt dip on the glass rim. Kudos for that incredible pecan pie. I couldn't stay for the later seating, but would appreciate more comments about the seafood gumbo and the trout.

      2 Replies
      1. re: friscofrog

        Interestingly, all my favorites were ordered in the first round, although we didn't get any mini corn muffins.

        The trout was weird--filleted and stuffed with pine nuts and wild rice, with a strip of bacon on top. It was hard to eat and needed a sauce or something to bring it together. The green beans, as CH addict mentioned, were peppery and wonderful.

        "Gumbo" was a tomato-based crab soup that didn't quite come together, but seemed to have all the right elements. Might be better closer to midnight with cocktails.

        1. re: Windy

          I'm so bummed I missed this chowdown. I'd love to meet some fellow SF hounds soon...hopefully the next time.

          Weird about the trout. When I had it last week I loved it and there was definitely no wild rice in there - bacon yes, but no rice - which doesn't really appeal to me either. I asked the bartender/server about the stuffing and he said "walnuts and cornbread, mostly". It had a seriously vinegary sauce with it too. Those little inconsistencies could be bad for biz but, I guess they're still playing with the menu. Glad to hear the pepper jelly is back!

          1. re: chaddict

            It's where Mason and Turk meet Market
            here's a link to their website...love the photo they've created!!

            http://www.farmerbrownsf.com/index.html

        1. I didn't really eat but did pick at a few things second seating. On the whole, great place and I will definitely return.

          My only disappointments were the greens, the seafood gumbo, and the pulled pork sandwich. The greens, while perfectly well cooked, didn't taste like anything other than greens-no hamhock, no smokiness, no nothing. I like veggies as much as the next person but I like my greens to have some pork flavor. The seafood gumbo would make a perfectly nice seafood soup but it didn't taste anything like gumbo. The pulled pork was moist but didn't appear to have any sort of sauce, just plain pork. I guess I was expecting that NC vinegar sauce or something. So really, as far as complaints go, that's not bad. The dishes were well executed, just not what I was expecting. Oh, and the drinks were weak and watery. I would have been hard pressed to figure out that my drink was a peach concoction were it not for the slice of peach hanging off the rim.

          But the good stuff: the fried chicken skin was perfectly spiced, loved the mac n' cheese. I LOVED the slaw that came with the pulled pork. I don't like mayo and this had none. Crunchy, pickle-y, and fresh. I would definitely order a side of that. French fries were great (especially compared to the awful In-n-Out ones I had the day before. What the hell do they do to them to get that frickin' weird texture?). The green beans that came with the trout were seriously spicy, I really enjoyed them. I also loved the strawberry-pepper jam that came with the muffins and biscuits. Didn't stay for dessert.

          The prices are incredibly reasonable, the staff friendly and sweet. Just be prepared for the noise, there is almost nothing to absorb it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chaddict

            The greens tasted different from the first table to the second. Same greens (beet greens?), but the first batch were dressed in a spicy vinegar that really made them shine.

            The pork was like a less greasy carnitas--big chunks of high-quality meat but definitely in need of some kind of dressing. Every bite was eventually finished. Worth noting that any time a server attempted to clear a plate from our table, someone would shout "no!" and hastily grab the last fry or bit of chicken skin or watercress.

          2. Any idea if they ever plan on doing lunch service?
            I checked the website yesterday but it amde no mention. I would DIE for a good fried chicken fix during the day. The Louisiana Fried Chicken at 6th is just not doing it for me....