Founding Farmers problem
I visit DC once a year, and always arrange to meet friends at FF. Last year the service and food were abominable, to the point that, when they offered to comp one of the four meals, I had to say "that is not enough". So they comped two.
Was it just an off day? Should I go back? Is there another place very nearby that I should try instead? I need a place where I can make reliable reservations for a party of six.
I haven't been to FF myself, but just yesterday a friend was saying that he had taken work colleagues out to lunch there and it was terrible. All the food was extremely bland, though he said the ingredients were top notch. He also thought it was expensive - and this friend doesn't make that complaint often at all. He won't go back.
I used to work there and have been there three times out of convenience. I never thought it was worth recommending.
What do you mean by 'very nearby?' If you are seriously limited by location, ambience, cuisine, then you will continue to eat mediocre food.
No it was not an off day and no you should not go back. It baffles me why this place is always so packed because I find everything they do (from food to service) just so-so.
Not that far away is the wonderful Rasika West End. Very different cuisine, vibe and price range...but it's one of the best restaurants in DC and it's delicious...always! Also nearby in the West End is Ris, which I think you will like.
I had a lovely lunch there a few months back. The green burger was good, the chicken and waffles was good, the pasta dish with sausage was good. Everyone in my family, and we are not exactly easy-to-please, was happy.
Had same experience in Potomac location some months ago. Offered to comp 2 of 4 meals the next time we came, but why go back.?
Ate at the Potomac location at the end of August and was not particularly impressed. First, it was very noisy. Second, the bar menu was extremely limited which to me means that it was not well-stocked or had unaccomplished mixologists or both. The food was ok, but not great, although it was plentiful. Probably will not go back voluntarily considering the total experience.
I agree on FF - liked the cocktails but not much else. Places can coast on reputation for a long time, but hopefully not forever. Part of the problem may be that the FF owners are opening a new restaurant in G'Town this winter. Perhaps they just aren't focused on FF.
In the West End 'hood, Blue Duck Tavern is great (although a bit pricey).
Kellari is good - uber-fresh Greek seafood nearby on K Street at 17th.
I've been to both the NYC and DC locations, and wouldn't hesitate to return. not cheap, but not ridiculous if you don't go for the A.Q. options (with prix fixe menus at lunch and early/late dinners).