Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brunch at Friend of a Farmer

77 Irving Place
New York, NY
(212) 477-2188 | Map

Typically, a line forming outside of a restaurant in New York is a good thing. The line can seem encouraging, offering assurance that the food being offered past the line and inside the doors is worth the wait. And, typically, a line forming outside of a restaurant in New York for Sunday brunch is an even better thing. With the being said, a line can also bring with it some high expectations.


When I arrived at Friend of a Farmer just before noon this past Sunday to have brunch with two of my Chi Omega Sisters, Mary Catherine, who braved the Overlook Lounge with me last month, and Candice, a line had already begun to form down the block. Thankfully, we only waited about 30 minutes for a table (I've waited longer for a table at Olive Garden...), and we used the time to enjoy the beautiful weather and the views of the quaint Gramercy neighborhood.

What I should have done was use that time to go pick up a cup of coffee, because when we were finally seated and were finally asked what we wanted to drink, I was flatly informed that Friend of a Farmer was out of coffee. I'm sorry, what? I didn't believe our server when she first told me, so I asked her again, and she said they were, unfortunately, out of coffee. This time she said it a little more apologetically but followed her restatement with a chipper announcement that they still had espresso and cappuccino. I glanced down at the menu: coffee, $2.25; espresso, $4.00; cappuccino, $4.25. Um, no. I politely declined and said I would "stick with water," completely dumbfounded that she was expecting me to pay up to $2 more for my caffeine that would decidedly come in a smaller cup. Now, I don't want to come off as harsh, but if one of the things people flock to your restaurant for on the weekends is the brunch affair, you better darn well make sure you have coffee. That line I just stood in betrayed me, and I feared that I was about to be told they were also out of eggs.

But they weren't. After much speculation, I decided what I wanted and had raised my hopes for a delicious meal again by the time our server returned. Candice and I each ordered from the "Farmer's Breakfast" section of the menu. Candice ordered the Hearty Omelette (Mozzarella, Bacon, and Tomato, $11.95) while I ordered up the Gramercy Omelette (Broccoli, Cheddar Cheese, and Sauteed Onion, $11.95), each of the omelettes coming with a side of Home Fries. Mary Catherine opted for Taylor's Tasty Toast (French toast made with Plump Cinnamon Raisin Bread, $11.95). Mary Catherine and I snacked on the complimentary squares of cornbread and homemade apple butter while we waited for our meals to arrive.

Well, folks, I wish I could say that I was blown away by my meal. Granted, it tasted okay, but it was so... ordinary. The eggs of my omelette weren't seasoned and most of what was inside was cheese. The home fries were lukewarm and greasy. A fine situation if I were hungover and looking for something to soak up last night's fun. A fine situation if I could wash it all down with coffee. But, in reality, a disappointing situation. The only unique thing about our food was the fact that it was served to us in or on cast iron cookware. The eggs of the omelette weren't seasoned and most of what was inside of mine was cheese. By the end of our meal, I was more grateful for having time with my friends to catch up on the latest happenings in our lives than I was for having ordered anything at all. Perhaps that's the real purpose of brunch -- not the food, but the company.

A line forming outside of a restaurant in New York during the prime brunch hours can seem encouraging... But sometimes, a line is just a line.

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9 comments:

doggybloggy said...

to me, a line is a bunch of lemmings lining up like turkeys unaware of their impending doom....I see line I think weekend wannabes and I go elsewhere....your meal proves it...NO COFFEE --what a lame attempt to increase your tab....isnt cappucino and espresso coffee .....

Kimberly said...

Michelle, you have terrible luck when it comes to coffee. I think you might be the cause of our Dinner Club coffee curse. If we don't get coffee with our meal tomorrow night, I'm blaming you!

Michelle said...

Doggybloggy - You have a much more morbid definition of a "line" than I do! But I'll never look at a line outside a restaurant the same way again!

Sure, I could have ordered a cappuccino or espresso in order to have caffeine, but that's not what I prefer with brunch. Settling is not an option in my book.

Michelle said...

Kym - I didn't realize it until you said it, but you're right. I have terrible luck when it comes to coffee in this city! However, you can't blame me if we go sans coffee again at Dinner Club... I'm not planning on ordering it!

Unless we choose tomorrow night as the night to Reverse the Curse. ;-)

doggybloggy said...

I didnt mean to sound so harsh its that the whole 'out of coffee' thing got me all worked up....

Michelle said...

Doggybloggy - Oh, I know! My response to your "out of coffee" thing was more sarcastic than anything. I mean, if I'm not drinking a mimosa or a Bellini with my brunch, I better be drinking coffee! ;-)

Zesty Cook said...

Aww Michelle - there is nothing worse than that. Sorry you had a debbie downer experience. Here is to you that your luck gets better.

zesty

Michelle said...

Zesty - The experience wasn't all horrible. I did, after all, enjoy the time I spent with my friends! It was just the food experience that was a little lackluster. If I ever decide to give Friend of a Farmer another try in the future, they better have coffee!

Links London said...

to me, a line is a bunch of lemmings lining up like turkeys unaware of their impending doom....I see line I think weekend wannabes and I go elsewhere....your meal proves it...NO COFFEE --what a lame attempt to increase your tab....isnt cappucino and espresso coffee .....