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Thumbs Down for Founding Farmers for Brunch

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Yikes. Just had one of the worst dining experiences I've ever had, at Founding Farmers. Really surprised and disappointed seeing as how FF comes highly recommended on these boards and I've had it on my list for awhile (due primarily to the CH recs!) Went today for brunch with a friend and it was awful from start to finish, but I must say the atrocious service was really what put it over the edge for me.

First, we both ordered drinks right away to start (a bellini and a gin fizz) in hopes they'd come fairly promptly (ie before our food) so we could start our fun. Nope. They came with the entrees even though we ordered them well in advance of the food. To be fair, they were pretty busy, so all things being equal I wouldn't knock them for this, but no apology/explanation for the delay, so not great.

For my entree I ordered the hash w/ lobster and crab, and wasn't asked how I wanted my eggs (at that point I didn't even really know there was an option, I skimmed the menu and saw "poached" and that was what I wanted), so when the server didn't ask I didn't mention what prep of eggs I wanted. When my order comes out it looks like an omelet, which I definitely didn't order, so I tell the runner (not the original server) that I think the order is mixed up. She goes back to check and comes back and says, "no the server says this is the hash," I gently explain I thought it came with poached eggs and ask that she have the server come by to clarify (it's her first day so poor thing doesn't know what to make of any of it). So the server comes by to explain that the dish can either come w/ scrambled or poached eggs, and apologizes for not asking which I wanted and then asks if I'd like the eggs poached. I say yes, I would, and he sighs and says, "well, ok, but I'm really going to get yelled at for this"! Geez, I'm sorry, but at that point I don't know what to do, I just really wanted my poached eggs, but felt horribly guilty at that point.

The dish itself was very dry, the main ingredient being very dry potatoes, with no other discernible vegetables in the preparation. There's two decent-size chunks of lobster and some crab flakes, which are rubbery and over cooked. I also find several shell pieces in the dish. And the "poached" eggs are way closer to hard boiled, yolks not runny at all, but chalky and crumbly, and have obviously been sitting a very long time.

Then, my friend sheepishly mentions that she thinks they've forgotten some of her order. She'd ordered the Farmer's breakfast which came w/ 2 eggs, bacon and then some side options (we think at least a salad or fruit plate and potatoes). But she just has eggs and bacon. She's starving, so she asks the server about the missing items and he starts to interrogate her! "It should have come with potatoes, are you sure it didn't? Yes we're sure! Her plate is absolutely clean, she would've had to lick the potato crumbs from the plate had there been any. And we both repeatedly assure him that she did not, in fact receive the potatoes. So, he finally asks, "well, do you want the potatoes?, because now I'm really going to get yelled at"! I have never, ever had a server make me feel so bad for asking for things that should've been done right the first time. It made us both very, very uncomfortable. And then the manager came to deliver the forgotten potatoes and didn't apologize for any of the mix ups or delays (my friend was completely done with her dish by the time I got mine).

All in all, I was extremely disappointed with FF and I'd really wanted to love the place. I've been eyeing it to try for dinner as the menu looks great (and again, always recommended around these parts), but I can honestly say, I will never go back and will never recommend it to anyone. On the way out we did see George Stephenapolous, but other than that, what a dismal experience!

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  1. oh my gosh! Yes, I had the same experience the weekend before. I went with my husband for brunch after Valentine's Day and the service was so atrocious that we had to pull another server and discuss our issues. We were there for a total of 2.5 hours for a simple brunch. The server had no idea what was on the menu and was so lackadasical. This guy didn't even know what veggies were in season. Never refilled our coffee until we had to ask and wait 30 minutes. The food was just good -not great. But would never go back because of the service. Also, I found a lobster shell in my skillet hash (veggies and eggs) wasn't really appealing (I never even told them that). The hollaindaise sauce was very average.

    1. I'm not sure this is a Founding Father's issue or an issue with brunches in general in DC. Because the combination of the indifferent/guilt-peddling service, sloppy food, and intolerable waits pretty much describes EVERY brunch I've EVER had in DC. Brunch is like some perfect storm of crowds, waits, incompetence bordering on criminal neglect, and there's really no reason for them to provide anything else because Sunday brunch is some sort of hallowed ritual that everyone seems to indulge in. It's a captive audience.

      I'm also not that fond of eggs and it seems they have 847 different styles of eggs but god forbid you'd want something like a sandwich or soup or something that isn't 847 styles of eggs.

      5 Replies
      1. re: monkeyrotica

        As my son says, Brunch is where they take two good meals and combine them into one bad one!

        1. re: Suemelk

          Ha, that's pretty much what Anthony Bourdain says about brunch...a way to get rid of odds and ends.

          1. re: MsDiPesto

            Indeed he does, but he's talking about buffet brunches that serve breakfast food along with all sorts of other dishes. The kind where you have a salad bar, waffles, and roast beef, etc. Founding Farmer's brunch is just a menu of breakfast standards served into the afternoon. Not sure how too many leftovers could make it into that menu.
            I ventured to Founding Farmers for Sunday brunch despite mjhals' warnings. We were seated within half an hour, despite being a walk-in party of 6 at 11:30. Our service was not nearly as bad as mjhals' experience. Our cocktails (rather good) were very slow in arriving from the bar, and our waitresses was horrible at refills and follow up drink orders. But, the food came out together and correct, and was really quite good standard breakfast fair. My ham steak and eggs breakfast was huge and very good, and a bargain at $10. I brought home enough for both my husband and I to have another hearty breakfast watching the snow this morning. Founding Farmers' homemade English muffins and preserves are really delicious. Overall, not the world's best dining experience, but I'd definitely go back for a quality hearty breakfast and good bloody mary. Plus, I believe in trying to eat sustainably, so supporting Founding Farmer's seems very worthwhile. I'm contemplating a dinner visit. Have people had better service/dining experiences at dinner? I would assume Sunday brunch is a shit shift that the best servers avoid working.

            1. re: chaussonauxpommes

              I had 2 very good dinner experiences there. Be sure to order the carrot cake for dessert!

              1. re: chicken kabob

                I've had VERY slow service there too and the worst part was sitting under the vent blowing cold air on a winter night. I like the concept, but the place is too big and impersonal for me.