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Dec 17, 2008 01:09 AM

farmerbrown sliding downhill?

my first meal at farmerbrown was about a year and a half ago. second was tonight.

i can't remember fully what i ate last time, but i don't think i'll be going back. tonight we had the shrimp poppers, which were quite tasty. little round fried fritters with creole remoulade. and the fried okra was pretty good, too, but it's easy to please me with okra. then we split shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and short ribs. the shrimp and grits were the best of the last three, and i enjoyed the richness of the grits. but i thought the shrimp were slightly overcooked. the fried chicken? it was good. i ate a wing and part of the thigh, and it was good, but the mac n cheese was veering towards kraft, and the greens were underseasoned and sort of blah. i spiked them with quite a bit of the green chile sauce tableside. the short ribs were a bit spare in meat to bone ratio, and i couldn't help thinking that a properly made korean braised short rib dish is one of my favorite things to eat on the planet...and it's not that i don't love other approaches, but this felt like a simple crockpot deal without much flavor. although it was super tender, i will say that.

no one at my table loved anything except for dessert. or i should say, the pecan pie i split with a friend. it was nutty and rich and sweet but just the right amount just this shy of being too much. the nuts weren't bitter and old, and the filling was great. but then the apple cobbler emerged, and this...just didn't work. the apple slices were too firm, undercooked. the flavors of lemon, sugar, and cinnamon were all distinct, and hadn't melded together at all. it tasted as if it needed another hour in the oven.

i really feel that my first meal here was much, much better. although farmerbrown is a bargain in these times (or seems like one!), i don't see a reason to return unless things change quite a bit.

oh and i should add that all three mains arrived at the table lukewarm to warm. and grits, for one, need to be piping hot.

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  1. Frankly, I found it had gone downhill by the time you first ate there... So it would be depressing to consider if they'd fallen farther. I first went to FB shortly after it opened, and loved it. My fear, though, is that after they became a hip destination, quality just plummeted, because quality was not what was bringing people in the door. I used to love their fried chicken, but the last two times I got it it was dry.

    1. I am not sure about sliding downhill since the one and only time I have been (or will go) it was very disappointing. My friend's fried chicken looked promising with crispy golden brown skin but the meat was so dry it was almost inedible. Also I ordered what they were calling Chicken Fried Steak which when it came out looked like a processed patty of mystery meat that was tough and to add insult to injury had almonds mixed into the crust. Overall a very poor experience and meal and I hope someone either gets their act together there or opens a truly good southern food place.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JBRTx

        Have you tried Mama Lucy's Soulful Comfort Cuisine?

        Farmer Brown
        25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        1. re: rworange

          do you have any idea when this place is open? I walk by it all the time and it never appears to be (but maybe it just has that appearance from the outside...)

          1. re: margieco

            After some searching I found this. It has limited hours lunch only.
            1 Gilbert St
            San Francisco, CA 94103
            Phone: (415) 861-1842
            Cross Street:
            Between Brannan Street and Bryant Street
            Mon-Fri 11am--3pm

            1. re: margieco

              It's one of those places that just looks like it's closed from the outside -- if it's a normal dinner hour or happy hour time, it'll likely be open.

        2. i would echo the sentiment of both posters, it was not that great to begin with
          fried chicken was only ok, shrimp cakes and gumbo were good

          it looks really more like a bar place, but the location is so suspect

          1 Reply
          1. re: kewlio

            I concur. The only reason I would return would be the bar. The drinks were great, but dry fried chicken and crappy mac and cheese were deal breakers.