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Farrah Olivia

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Noticed there weren’t many reviews of Farrah Olivia. Went there last week and had a surprisingly good meal. First off, I would definitely suggest going the route of one of the tasting menus. We personally did the 7 course, and upon return will consider the 5 course as well. It seems that going a la carte would be quite pricey considering the size of the portions. Standouts were the Shocked Escolar (absolutely amazing), Deconstructed Caesar, Halibut, Duck Breast, and Venison (one complaint being the Madeira and port reduction had a hint of ginger that did not do Bambi well). Dessert and the Tuna was forgettable. Squash soup was the only bad dish, again with a distinct ginger taste that my palate apparently does not appreciate (I do enjoy ginger just not when it overpowers heavy/hearty dishes). But all in all the 7 courses excluding the soup were very good.

The only real complaint, albeit an important one, was the absolutely lackluster service. I could drone on ad nauseum, but the one standout was the absolute lack of knowledge of the wine list. Our waiter had absolutely no knowledge of the wine, or at least did not want to share it with us. All in all the service wasn’t all that bad, perhaps more refinement would carry a higher price but it might be worth it.

Would be interested in hearing about others experiences.

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  1. I have eaten there several times [reported on other threads]. The food is great but sometimes the chef gets carried away with the deconstructions and the plating becomes more important than the taste. Service has always been adequate but not great. I like it and will keeo going back because of the innovation. PS: Yes, the shocked escolar is great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dakota Guy

      My wife and I went to Farrah Olivia this past Saturday for their fixed price brunch. At $20.07 it is a superb value, with well executed and very fresh apps and entrees. The highlight was the simplest dish...a wonderful roast white meat chicken breast that was moist, flavorful with sinfully crisp skin. It was served with a wonderfully homey porcini mac-n-cheese side. This was not a typical dish in a place known for it's "deconstructing". My Salmon with beet risotto and leek cream sauce was also very good, especially for the $$...Salmon was very, very fresh and done medium rare as requested; the rest of the dish neither enhanced nor detracted from the velvety fish. The grilled asparagus and smoked salmon apps were decent as was the dessert of "Spice" and Citrus cheese cake. All in all for 20 bucks ahead, a very, very good quality to price ratio.

    2. Thank goodness it's not just me. I truly enjoyed my meal, and I tasted my friends' dishes as well, but the ginger was quite off-putting in the soup and in the brussel sprouts. We had a good experience with the service staff, but indeed, our server seemed one step off.

      1. We went last night for RW and We ordered the shocked escolar and the chicken with banana curry. Both were absolutely wonderful. I agree about the service. Our waiter was really intermittent, from the time we sat down till he came back was close to 10 minutes. Other waiters we noticed were much better. Outside of the spotty service, it was unpretentious and the food was wonderful.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ruesch

          Were those two dishes on the RW menu? They're not listed as RW choices on the restaurant's website, but I was hoping to get them.

          1. re: jumpingjack

            The entrees were
            the chicken with banana curry
            Salmon with brussel sprouts
            roasted pork
            i think a pasta dish
            the appetizer
            the chesnut soup
            shocked escarole
            salad
            I think the desserts were
            cheesecake
            creme brulee
            chocolate brownie

        2. Went to Farrah Olivia last night with Fiance and friends. Overall good impression. There weren't many people in the restaurant, even taking into account it was a Tuesday.

          They had a nice wine selection. The amuse bouche of salmon and goat cheese was very good, memorable for me. I started with the Seafood Chowder which was rich and really good. It had something cruncy on top that was good in small pieces but I left a big glob of it that I didn't break apart at the bottom of the dish when I was done. Fiance had the beef tartar which looked interesting, but I didn't try. A friend had the grits which looked really good too, and she had gotten last time she was there.

          Entrees came out I had the lamb which was cooked really well, I like the bbq sauce with it, which was definitely a more fruity BBQ sauce I forget how they described it. The greens and cake (don't know what it was made of) that came with it were good. They also came with some pearls of something that they called homemade caviar, my best description of what it tasted like was if you would put some bengay on your tongue without the medicinal sensation if you could just taste the flavor that would be it. It was sort of minty, but not really, luckily it was small and avoidable because although lamb and mint taste good, I didn't like the taste by themselves, or with the lamb, especially not with the BBQ sauce, but again they were just a small pud on the corner of the plate so very avoidable. I think perhaps he suffers from putting just one too many things on the plate.

          Fiance had a pork chop with creamy lentil that was really good. Other friends had the duck and salmon both looked excellent and they really enjoyed them. After seeing the salmon if we go back I might order it or another fish.

          I had spice for dessert, Fiance had citrus, I also got to taste chocolate. Spice was good, I think the chef has a thing for "pearls" which is ok, it was better here than in my main dish. This was good, I couldn't finish it all I was so full, but it was very good, marscapone, fig compote, a little bit of cake and spice, molasses cracker. Chocolate was good, I am not a big fan of marshmallow, but the homemade fluff was good, much better than regular marshmallow cream or fluff, much lighter and less sweet, I liked the chocolate, was way too full to try Fiance's but he seemed to like it. The cheesecake looked really good and he said the citrus flavors weren't too tart they went well in the dish.

          Overall it was really good, again I think some plates probably could have had one thing off and perhaps he is trying a bit too hard with the trendy like pearls, and etc. But the tastes were very good, and I think the chef will only improve and the flavors will get better and better. The service was fine, not superb, but not bad at all, but the place was not busy by any stretch. Oh and the flavors for the bread were really good. I would definitely go back.

          1. We'd been wanting to try this place for several months and it was well worth the wait. Chef Morou is a genius and we had one of the most memorable meals in the WDC area since we moved here four years ago. I applaud his creative and innovative takes on the menu and our server was both helpful and very friendly. Sounds like they've worked our those kinks. My only comment that I don't think they can address is the overcrowded dining room and noise level. Other than that, it was an exceptional meal and experience.

            1. Farrah Olivia was absolutely amazing and worth going! (i posted this before, but it's worth posting again). I took some foodie friends from NY and LA there and we could not stop raving about the food during the meal. We thought it was better than Chef Ramsey's or even Michael Mina's. The food is delicious and inventive, and the service and atmosphere is not pretentious, yet professional. It's the only place i will take future close friends or clients i like. The lamb, shocked escolar, and creme brulee are incredible.

              1. Had the 7 course tasting menu this Sunday ($75 per person).

                We started with an amuse of chilled cream of corn soup. This was rich and surprisingly sweet. I don't think sugar was added but it's hard to believe corn being that sweet. If I have a longer thinner tongue, I'd lick the bottom of the little shot glass.

                The first course is shocked escolar with some soy sauce caviar. We were waiting for the soy caviar to explode in our mouths but they didn't. They were more like soy sauce tapioca balls. The fish was great though.

                The second course was gazpacho with eggplant and cucumber gelee. The third course was diver scallop with bacon powder and bacon crumble. The scallop was seared perfectly and delicious by itself. The bacon crumble at least added texture while the bacon powder added no flavor whatsoever.

                The fourth course was pan seared halibut in english pea sauce. Another excellent seafood course. By this point I was close to being full.

                The fifth and sixth courses were duck and filet of beef. We let the chef cook the meats the way he liked it, and the duck looked "shocked," - cooked on the outside and nearly raw in the middle. We ate the cooked part and took the remainder home for our dogs. The filet was served with a powder that tasted like worcestershire sauce. It also came with a couple of delicious potato croquettes filled with bacon and scallion.

                The service was excellent and we think this is one of the best restaurants in Old Town.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                  If you don't like rare duck, wouldn't it have made sense to tell your server that, instead of telling them you were willing to accept it however it came out, and then taking it home for your dogs? Lucky dogs though!

                  Was the filet served rare too?

                  1. re: crackers

                    Maybe next time I'll follow your suggestion. As it was, I would've ate the duck if I wasn't nearly full already. The filet was medium rare. Half of my filet is actually sitting at home and I haven't decided what to do with it.

                  2. re: Ericandblueboy

                    I'm disappointed to see so many overdone food trends here; gelees, liquid "caviars", powders, etc.

                  3. We went to Farrah Olivia for my birthday this past May and absolutely loved the food. There aren't too many chefs in the DC area that are really experimenting and taking food to the next level like food here (don't get me wrong, there are PLENTY of wonderful restaurants in DC -- I am specifically talking about taking it to the next level). We got the 7 course tasting and enjoyed every bit of it. We had a waiter who was actually really fun and intereacted with us a lot. The only disappointing thing about the evening was that my husband had told the restaurant staff that it was my birthday and I would love to meet the chef. We say him go in and out of the kitchen, but he never came to our table. We were a bit surprised by that, since almost every restaurant where we've made such a request, the chef has been excited about meeting us.