Friday, June 01, 2007

Flatbush Farm - An Update

It was my pop's birthday and the place he wanted to eat was closed, so we wound up at Flatbush Farm, a restaurant that we liked but didn't love. When you have a 4 month old baby with you who needs to be sleeping in 90 minutes, your options are somewhat limited. This was the only place in the neighborhood where we would definitely get a table for five people without a reservation, hopefully outdoors on a lovely evening, and where a baby might not be a disturbance to other diners.

We did get to sit outside in what is truly a great outdoor dining space - lots of room between the tables, plenty of trees and green, an airy and luxurious feeling to the place.

We start with a bottle of Astoria Prosecco, which retails for $7 a bottle and goes for $24 here. Whaddayagonnado, eh? We order two salads, both excellent, although a little over dressed. Frisee with mushrooms and blue cheese, and bibb lettuce with radishes and craime fraiche. Tasty and fresh ingredients, delicious outside in the garden. And the waiter brings five plates for us, which he should do, but since it so rarely happens without asking in restaurants, we thought it was nice.

Sorry to say, though, that things went downhill from here. The problems we experienced last time with the restaurant (spotty service, inconsistent and overpriced food) were still present, maybe worse this time around.

A pet peeve: I hate it when after considering what every one at the table will eat, I spend time with a wine list, order a wine, and am told that the restaurant is out of it.

Ma and pa order the spare rib special with greens and baked beans (good sides, so-so at best on the ribs), brother and I order the duck that I loved last time (this time, too fatty, poorly presented, mushy lentils, gloopy citrus sauce - the opposite of how good it was last time), BrooklynLady goes again for her French-dip sandwich. I order a bottle of the Shinn Estates Wild Boar Doe - Long Island wines on the mind I guess.

Waiter disappears for almost 10 minutes and comes back to tell me that actually they do not have that wine. Waiter should know that when handing me the list. Or at least when I spoke the words "Wild Boar Doe," waiter should say whoops, we're out of that one, sorry."

So I go for the cheaper but very tasty 2006 Roches Neuves Saumur-Champigny that we had last time. He goes away again, another 10 minutes, and comes back to tell me that that wine also is gone! Ridiculous. We went with a Bierzo that was pleasant, but that is totally beside the point. The place is half empty and they can't manage themselves better than that? Waiter crowned his achievement by pointing to a $55 Gigondas on the list and saying "This one is a Bordeaux and it's really good."

I am just not a fan of dinner at the Farm. If you want a nice place to have a drink in the garden, go for it.

13 comments:

Lenn said...

Well look who is ordering LI wines in a restaurant ;) Too bad they didn't have it though.

At least he didn't offer you a nice Alsatian Pinot Gris from Napa...he got the country right ;)

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Lenn,
And you know, I didn't even know exactly what this "Wild Boar Doe" is - a blend of Cabs and Merlot I supposed, but I didn't know. I learned with you though that I really like Shinn wines and that they are meaty enough and light enough to work with ribs and duck at the same table. Sorry they were out, I wanted to taste it. Grrrrr.

RougeAndBlanc said...

sorry to hear about your sub-par dinning experience. In baseball, it takes 3 strikes for a strike-out, but in this case, I guess 2 strikes is enough. In any event, which Bierzo did you drink? I recently had the Petalos Bierzo which was excellent too. Hats off to these Spanish winemaker who makes these wines.
Andrew

Joe said...

Gigondas is my favourite Bordeaux commune...:)
I am so fed up with wine in restaurants - if my wife would let me I would only go to restaurants that let me bring my own wines...

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Andrew - yeah, i'm done with Farm. i would try their bar menu, but maybe not even that. i don't remember he name of the Bierzo, but it wasn't special, just okay. i like Bierzo though, good ones are tasty and not too expensive, like Petalos.

Hi Joe - i am so fed up with restaurants in general. i like cheap chinatown places and taco joints and the like. fancy places are annoying the heck out of me lately.

Lenn said...

Yeah...the Wild Boar Doe is a Boardoe -style blend :) It would have been a nice pairing with your diverse table I think.

We almost never order wine in restaurants anymore. It's hard when you know enough about the wines on the list to know that you're being ripped off...and dont' make enough money not to care :)

Brooklynguy said...

I think I might be done ordering wine at restaurants too. another somewhat silly experience this weekend...better off just paying the corkage fee.

Anonymous said...

Flatbush Farm has never had a Gigondas on the wine list. There has never been a wine costing $55 on the wine list. Please stand corrected.

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Anon - I imagine you are an owner or something (so why go anon, unless you have something to hide, but whatever) - i take careful notes about what i eat drink and see, and although I make mistakes like everyone else, this is not one of them. When your waiter points to a Gigondas and calls it Bordeaux after twice trying and failing to order a bottle, it's pretty easy to remember. Maybe you should check with your beverage manager, although based on my experience trying to order wine at your place, that might not be a foolproof way of determining what you actually had in stock or on the list.

dc server said...

As a server, I've had to go back to a table once or twice to tell them that unfortunately the wine(s) they requested were not available. Believe me-- it's no more pleasant for me than it is for you. It's hard to gain back the confidence of a table when it seems that you don't know your stock. My restaurant has close to a 200-bottle list, and though the managers do try to update us on low stock, sometimes one or two slip through the cracks. I don't know how big the list is at this particular place, but I hope you didn't hold it against the server, he/she was probably unaware of the outage... when wines are out of stock the list should be reprinted-- and that's a management responsibility.

As for the selection available in regards to price, it sounds like they need a little help rounding out their list. Maybe you should offer some suggestions-- it just might turn into a way to sample more wines on someone else's dime!

Brooklynguy said...

hey dcserver- thanks for your thoughtful comments. its true that it is the management's responsibiity to inform servers about wine stock changes. i didn't old it against the server (although his rec on the Brodeaux Gigondas was odd). interesting idea to offer suggestions. i have to think about that one. is this your first visit to the site, or have you been a quiet reader?

dc server said...

First visit-- saw the mention of your blog in Wine & Spirits and thought I'd take a look.

Wine is still a new hobby for me, one that has been greatly influenced by my place of business and the passions of fellow servers and management. From what I've read of your site so far, I find it very informative yet 'accessible.' Wine is a subject that can be very intimidating and it's nice to read clear, down to earth reviews.

BTW, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend 'Anarchy' (syrah/zinfandel/mouvedre blend)and 'Heretic'(petite syrah), both from Four Vines. Big, bold reds that slap you in the face at first, then mellow out to a velvet finish. They may be hard to find outside of the actual vinyard, but they ship and the wines are well worth it! In fact, I've never had a Four Vines product that I didn't enjoy...

Brooklynguy said...

hey dc - glad you found me and hope to see you around. i will keep my eyes open for that anarchy wine you recommend, thanks. and i'm really glad that you like my style of writing about wine, thanks for the compliment. see you-