Friend of a Farmer Review
What to do when your boyfriend gets the stomach flu on the day before Thanksgiving and then craves a roasted turkey dinner afterwards, this, of course, being the one time of the year he craves a turkey dinner? Thanks to the intelligence on CH (from RGR) we ended up at Friend of a Farmer tonight.
The restaurant was mostly full when we arrived. We were given the choice of upstairs or downstairs. "What's the difference?", I asked. "Nothing," said the server. "Er. Alright, then we'll sit downstairs," I said. We were seated among 6-7 other tables in the downstairs area, with a nice view of the fireplace (bonus points), a fire burning brightly already. Unfortunately, we were also by the window (which was drafty). And the tables have tops that are strangely thick (6" deep but hollow) such to make it awkward to sit down. The decor was homey but overly cloying, thankfully. It's also the only restaurant I've been to in recent memory that actually played music from the radio (jazz radio, that is)! A nice touch, I suppose.
First we were given a loaf of cornbread: slightly dry and crumbly, and really just a device to deliver nicely spiced applesauce to your mouth. I liked the applesauce but wished it was warm and not refrigerator cold. The cornbread itself was passable but unremarkable, and probably would have improved with a nice pat of butter instead of applesauce.
Our entrees soon arrived. My chicken pot pie was a little overdone on the edges but otherwise quite good and filled with lots of chicken, peas, corn, etc. I found it also on the peppery side but otherwise seasoned appropriately. Good thing I enjoy pepper! Pretty good for a cold November night. My boyfriend's turkey dinner was fine. It was, however, plated strangely, with the slices of turkey arranged on top of the (just a bit too cold) mashed potatoes, like a car dangling over a cliff in a spy movie. The cranberry sauce was good and he enjoyed the stuffing, filled with cranberries and walnuts, that was moist but not mushy. "Mom usually makes Stovetop. This is way better than Stovetop!" But the turkey itself was merely good, not great, and on par with what his mother (a good but not great cook) would have accomplished. "Then again, it's not gonna taste as good as a turkey that's been roasting all day and freshly craved," he said to me. At the very least, it soothed his craving for a Thanksgiving Dinner.
Two other things to note: the room we were dining in basically cleared out around 8pm, and the place suddenly felt dead. A casualty of a holiday weekend, I suppose, and an older crowd. And they still had tables set for outdoor seating with napkins, silverware, etc!
All in all, a fine but not outstanding neighborhood establishment but not one I'd rush to get back to.
Friend of a Farmer
77 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003
ACK I'm so shocked that people line up for a meal here. The last time I ate here, three years ago, my sandwich was served on quickbread -- something like an unsweetened, sliced loaf cake. After a manager boasted that they just picked up a new line of desserts from SYSCO, I never returned.
Agreed. I went for breakfast once, asked if they made their muffins, etc. in-house and was told "yes," only to see the boxes of muffins sitting in the entryway to the restaurant, obviously dropped by a delivery person. It seemed totally mediocre to me, and kind of tired decor-wise.
Agreed. It's one of my go-tos for a reasonable, comforting dinner in Union Square. Found myself stuck there last week and took refuge from the cold in the same window table as the OP. Tucked into a very good duck risotto and shared a bottle of wine for a nice close to the weekend.
Thanks so much for that detailed report. I've only been to Friend of a Farmer twice, and both times, we sat outside (during the summer) and I had salads. So, it was interesting to read about the interior space and what some "real food" is like there. Even though there were things about your meal that could have been much better, I'm glad I was able to help your b.f. satisfy his turkey craving.
Btw, for future reference, another place where you can get turkey and some trimmings all year round is Sarge's Deli. I've never had it there, but their pastrami is excellent, so maybe the turkey is as well. Acc. to the menu, it's served as a "hot open sandwich" with giblet gravy, candied sweets, and cranberry sauce.
Thanks! I did find Sarge's referenced somewhere online, and a friend mentioned Chat 'n' Chew. BF wanted something with a little more atmosphere, and Chat 'n' Chew has never impressed me, so off to Friend of a Farmer it was.
It does seem like a nice place to sit outside though! In the summer, of course, not when it's 40 degrees F out!