Monday, December 18, 2006

Review: Farm on Adderly

We went out to dinner with a few friends on Friday night to a new-ish place in Ditmas Park called Farm on Adderly. Ditmas Park is an up-and-coming neighborhood in central Brooklyn, near the Flatbush and Midwood sections. Many people would say that it's part of Flatbush. Full of old Victorian homes with wrap around porches and plenty of room for the car(s), this area has been attracting young couples who can no longer afford to pay for space in Park Slope, for example. Farm on Adderly opened in July (I think) to much fanfare, both because the area needed a high end restaurant, and because the food received great reviews early on.

One visit does not a comprehensive review make, but we really liked this place. The space is quite long and airy and there is a garden space in the back, closed now obviously. Great decor - a country feeling but elegant, lots of dark wood, but not at all stuffy. Our table for 6 was round. I love a round table, and most restaurants don't offer them. There was a good mix of couples on dates, friends hanging out at the spacious bar, and families, some with babies. I found it sweet that a couple of waitresses took turns holding a small baby while mom tucked into her meal - these folks clearly know each other. Farm on Adderly has obviously and thoroughly won over the neighborhood folks

The service was professional, but in a casual way. Plates were all cleared at once, instead of the typical clearing as you finish eating, leaving the person still eating feeling like a jerk. Bread was replenished, as was water, waiters were not intrusive but were there when we needed something - professional. Our waiter joked around a bit, mostly at his own expense, and he charmingly brought over a few free desserts to compliment those we had already ordered when he saw us exchanging gifts - "I thought it might be some one's birthday," he said.

Excellent starters included house charcuterie plate (the spicy sausage was my favorite), house pate de campagne (rich and light at the same time, perfect with the cornichons), and butternut squash soup. Good appetizers included a special of shrimp poached in olive oil served with pickled cucumbers. The cucumbers were awesome, but the shrimp had little flavor and were overcooked. A bibb lettuce salad with a goat cheese fritter was fine.

Excellent entrees included grilled sliced hangar steak - tender, nicely charred, very flavorful. A special of brisket was delicious too, perfectly prepared, falling apart, yummy with its polenta accompaniment. And appropriate for the first night of Chanukah. Good entrees included pork filet and roast chicken. In every case except for the special brisket, though, the side vegetables sounded good on the menu but were prepared as an afterthought, tending towards mushiness and too oily. I bet they will get this together though with time, because the majority of the food was just so well seasoned and expertly prepared. Minimal intervention seems to be the rule too, they let the steak, pork, and chicken sing for themselves, not an over-abundance of salt, butter, or fancy garnishes.

The only real issue they seem to have right now, though, is dessert. We tasted 5 of them and not one was worth ordering, in my opinion. They seemed to be trying too hard (passion fruit foam/gel/pudding with ginger cake, for example), and lost touch with basics. The butterscotch ice cream was delicious though.

Overall, Farm on Adderly is a very good restaurant, and a good value too. I'm not sure that it will satisfy you as a "destination" restaurant, unless part of the thrill comes from going to Ditmas Park. Smoothing out a few edges might change this, as this place has LOADS of potential. And that said, if I lived in Ditmas Park I would have a table with my name on it.

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