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Founding Farmers, Downtown, Potomac, and Tysons Corner

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It looks like Agraria's second location will be Founding Farmers, at the IMF building.

See links here and here.

As a Green Certified Restaurant, approved by the Green Restaurant Association, Founding Farmers will source locally and regionally whenever possible, and will follow strict guidelines for reducing energy use and waste, with management and staff learning the best earth-friendly practices such as water conservation and recycling. In the dining room, eco-friendly choices menus printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks, and house-filtered water that doesn't come in throwaway bottles. The restaurant has invested in the state-of-the-art Natura® water system to provide guests with fresh-filtered, purified, mineral-filled, chilled sparkling and still water served in glass carafes to greatly reduce fuel costs and polluting emissions without truck deliveries, and to reduce tons of plastic and glass waste.

Hmmm, I think that the "whenever possible" gives them a pretty good out when they cannot get stuff from the local area. Can a place this size easily get what they need locally without much trouble?

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Hmmm, I think that the "whenever possible" gives them a pretty good out when they cannot get stuff from the local area. Can a place this size easily get what they need locally without much trouble?
It all depends. Right now it is nearly impossible to get local carrots for cooking (ie stocks, soffrito/mirapoix) or celery and plain yellow onions. When these seasons do occur, they are short, very expensive and the quality of the products is nothing special for the most part because these are items not well suited for our local growing conditions. So if your cuisine needs these ingredients, then you have to go to non local sourcing for them

While you may see something at the local farmer's market, a farm can offer something even if all it has is a box or two. But the local farmers who deal wiith a restaurant may not offer something they can sell at retail at a farmer's market appearance to a restaurant at wholesale prices. New Morining Farms, for example, has more fruit at their Sheridan School market than they offer wholesale.

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Seems they're open for business. They were accepting reservations on OpenTable for dinner tonight.. also checked Saturday dinner, and yup, reservations available then also.

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Interesting that their menu links don't work.

They had an earlier draft of their menu up late last week, but it still included price points of "$?" for many items. I suspect they'll have a revised copy up tomorrow.

I stopped by for their final night of soft service tonight, and it seems like they've still got a ways to go before they're ready for prime time. The space is beautiful and the staff seems attentive enough, but there were quite a few glitches in our evening.

We sat down for a 7:30 reservation and were handed a limited menu with two appetizers and four entrees to choose from - not surprising, as this IS soft service. But our waiter immediately informed us that even some of the items on our limited menu might not be available. He credited this to Founding Farmers' commitment to only serving the freshest ingredients (no frozen items in storage). Acceptable - maybe even respectable - though they'll have a hard time establishing themselves as a go-to restaurant if they run out of too many dishes too often, and the length of their menu suggests that they're going to be wasting A LOT of food if everything is as fresh as they want it to be at all times.

Long story short: two of the four entree selections we were offered were sold out. So were four of their signature cocktails, though it was hard to identify a unifying ingredient whose absence would affect those four drinks.

Short story long: we waited almost forty minutes for our single appetizer - with several apologetic appearances by our server during that time - until it finally arrived piping hot. Five minutes after it arrived, a second one followed (despite the fact that we only ordered the one). Five minutes after that, our entrees arrived.

The biggest complaint - salmon that was practically raw in the middle. Sending it back to refire resulted in a wait of more than 10 minutes. Food was good if not great. I support their efforts at local sourcing and their green practices, so I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and to deal with prices that seem a bit higher than the cuisine warrants at this point.

Bottom line: Decor is great, cocktail list is deep and the prices are right ($8-$13), and the bar snacks menu had some real treats on it (bacon 'lollipops,' anyone?). Still a few kinks to work out in terms of service, timing, communication, etc., but that's par for the course at this point. I'll look forward to checking them out again once they've had a chance to get their feet under them.

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I hope that everything in this beautiful restaurant falls into place! I went to the soft opening on Saturday also. All of our food was available, only in 45-minute increments. The ravioli that I ordered was salted to the point that it was unable to be eaten. The other 5guests at my table were happy with their entrees; we ordered all of the different entrees available. The service was friendly and attentive but this place still needs more staff adjustment.

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I've been here twice. I went the Tuesday before the public opening. My friend and I just wandered in, sat at the bar, and were handed limited menus with no prices. We did however have to pay for our drinks. We had good drinks and the food was pretty good, although food was slow to come out of the kitchen. (But again this was before the restaurant had opened and the meals were free.) I also had the problem with the undercooked salmon but what was cooked was good. The desserts were really good. We had a goat cheese cheese cake, which was tasty although not as good as the one at Cork. (I prefer the goat cheese cheesecake at Cork because it is less sweet.) The star of the show was a chocolate pecan tart which was awesome -- a rich deep chocolate flavor with just enough sweetness.

I went again tonight with some other friends. Again it was a good meal. There was some confusion between table and kitchen. I ordered the meat loaf which came out with potatoes rather than the promised mac and cheese. When I mentioned this to the waiter, he quickly brought out a side of mac and cheese. Likewise, my friend ordered pork and was served chicken. They had him keep the chicken and brought out the correct pork dish later.

On both trips, I had excellent mashed potatoes. The vegetables sides were also good. Sadly there was no sign of the chocolate pecan tart, although the waiter did recall serving it last weekend. We did have the apple pie, which was an individual style so it had a lot of crust surrounding the fruit. The pie was well executed but I would prefer a greater ratio of fruit to crust. My friends had the devils food cake which was a large serving of rich chocolate cake.

All in all, although Founding Farmers has some food-delivery issues to work on, it has a lot of promise and I plan to go back soon.

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Went to a soft opening dinner with 5 other friends. I'm sorry to say it'll be a long time, if ever, before any of us return. The concept is great and I want to support it. But the food was definitely substandard.

Understandably, our waitress was not as up to snuff on everything, but she had a really great attitude and I'm sure her service will improve with time. The food, however, was a different story. First the positives... the mussels, salad and Italian meats appetizers were good. The entrees were not. At all. From bone-dry meatloaf and overcooked halibut with huge clumsy raw vegetables served over it, to a bigger-than-your-head NY strip and inedible house-made pasta, each one of us was more than disappointed with our dishes. Dessert was fine -- but by then, we'd had enough.

Again, I'm sorry to have had this experience. I'd love to have a restaurant in a great location that's all about supporting locally grown food and draws from sustainable materials in its design. I hope things improve. A lot.

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Dropped by with friends on Saturday, and things seem to have improved somewhat. Some of the cocktails are downright lovely -- the off-menu "Bee's Knees" was awesome, the "Death in the Afternoon" was not. The bar snackery (deviled eggs, bacon lollipops) and our party's entrees (chicken pot pie, fried chicken, strip steak) met with approval as well. Not exactly Central or anything, but the prices are reasonable (entrees under $20, I think) and it has lots of space upstairs for large parties, so it does have a certain appeal.

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Just bacon on a stick with a brown sugar glaze, more or less. Deliciously bacon-y. Not all that lollipop-y.

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I went for lunch last week - hits included the deviled eggs and the grilled cheese with tomato soup (the latter was easily big enough to be lunch for two). The biggest miss was the flatbread with tomato jam and parmesan cheese - it was actually sliced baguette (not a problem, though I imagined "flatbread" would be a pizza crust or focaccia, not just bread that happened to be cut flat), spread with sugary tomato jam, olive oil, halved cherry tomatoes, and the cheese. Maybe it is a matter of individual taste, but I really reacted negatively to the sweet jam with the rest of the ingredients. The 17-veggie salad seemed uninspired - the 17 vegetables (of which some were actually fruits) just weren't that interesting, and the dressing lacked salt and acidity.

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I went here for dinner this past Saturday and the place exceeded my expectations. Of course, my expectations were fairly low given that I had not heard anything good about its sister restaurant and FF's menu, in both it's breadth and look, came across to me as mid-level chain.

First, the place is a very nice space and was already quite a popular scene in just its first weekend of full operation. The website called its look something like "modern farmhouse" and there were cute decorative touches throughout but overall it was a sleek, comfortable (and big) place. We ate upstairs and despite being full, sound levels easily allowed conversation.

We started with the deviled eggs, one of the cheese plates and cheese puffs (yes, a lot of cheese). The eggs, as other have mentioned, were basic but tasty. They also have a fancier version of the dish that involves various types of seafood. I enjoyed all the selections on the cheese plate, which were alas not labeled or identified, and I don't really remember what they were, but it was a good range. I thought the portion, for the price, was a little on the stingy side. The cheese puffs were also tasty, with a little kick of heat to them. They don't compare favorably to the gougeres at Central, but are good nonetheless.

For a main dish I had the meatloaf with the macaroni and cheese. After recovering from my self-induced shock that, on a rare night out without the kids, I had just ordered two staples of our home dinner rotation, I enjoyed the dish. The meatloaf, which, IIRC, included beef, veal and wild mushrooms, was just moist enough and had a nice flavor. The mac and cheese was definitely on the thick and gooey side of the spectrum, but I don't mind that. It did suffer a little bit from the fact that one of our party's entrees arrived well after the others and there was some cooling off while we waited to start. My wife had the skirt steak, which came topped with some sort of pesto or chimichurri, and seemed properly cooked to order. Our friends had two of the main course salads which were huge (The Biiiig Salad!) and they seemed to enjoy, but salad for dinner is not really my thing.

Service, as might be expected this early on, had some rough spots, but was overall decent. I must say that, despite all the talk on their website and menu about being green and sourcing locally, etc. (almost to the point of being off-putting), I didn't really see much evidence of this in the dishes on their menu.

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Ate here recently and was pleasantly surprized. It did have a sort of corporate feel to it, not that it bothered me. Devilled eggs were tasty, I also liked my big and very reasonably priced meatloaf. My friend ate the chicken pot pie which was good although the vegetables were slightly under cooked. My favorite thing was ordered by my wife. Chicken and Waffles!! delicious and now one of my favortie combinations of things ever. All and all it was good if not amazing food at a very reasonable price. I will go back.

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"We handcraft our pasta using only the best 'OO' flour for the most tender noodles, inspired by Thomas Jefferson."

This goes on page one of the Spare Me Book.

SPAREZ-MOI!

At an absolutely packed Founding Farmers tonight at 8:30, Southern Pan-Fried Chicken ($16) achieved a reverse synergy: The whole was much less than the sum of its parts. The "crispy fried free-range chicken" had a pleasant flavor which reminded me of KFC, and that's not an insult because I think KFC original is fairly tasty. But it didn't come - to borrow a phrase from Founding Farmers - straight "from fryer to table," and was barely above room temperature, so it came across as more of an impressive picnic rendition. The chicken sat atop some Swiss chard which was the "veggie of the day," and the best thing on the plate, approached only by a little pitcher of cream gravy which was thin but not at all bad. Mac and cheese was made with heavy, homemade macaroni and a decent cheese sauce, and if it came in a little ramekin as a small portion would have been fine had it not been cold. Two pieces of pre-syruped waffle were absolutely cool to the touch, and topped with too much sweet butter that irreversibly crept into the Belgian holes. These cold, pre-syruped waffles, especially in context to the rest of the plate, reminded me very much of what comes with a sausage, egg, and cheese McGriddle which is an ugly, ugly combination of flavors. Taken as a whole, this was a big, heavy, klutzy dish that wasn't worth the calories - and I had similar thoughts about every other plate of food I saw coming out this evening.

The "flatbreads" - at least the ones being assembled at the bar - were nothing more than sliced bread with toppings, and I'm not sure why they don't call them bruschetta.

Eight out of nine dishes off the From The Ranch section are served with Yukon Gold whipped potatoes. Eight out of nine.

I ordered two Clipper Organic Amber Ales ($5 each), and got billed for two Wolaver IPAs ($6 each), and when I mentioned it to the bartender, he shrugged his shoulders and said "that's what came up on the computer." Okay, no problem.

But the only reason I ordered the bottled beer in the first place was because none of their taps were working. Perhaps they should have called on one of their farmers, who are almost surely mechanically inclined because they're used to working with hoes.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Ugh. I am eating here tomorrow night at a friend's request and after reading all of the reviews, am suddenly not looking forward to it!

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I found comfort in the bacon wrapped dates (stuffed with bleu cheese and covered with a balsamic glaze) and the specialty cocktails.

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I found comfort in the bacon wrapped dates (stuffed with bleu cheese and covered with a balsamic glaze) and the specialty cocktails.

Tell us more about the cocktails, please? I hear they make a good Sazerac.

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Tell us more about the cocktails, please? I hear they make a good Sazerac.

Here is their link to info about the head bar guy: http://www.wearefoundingfarmers.com/index....tent/article/10

From what I understand, they make all their own sodas, juices, and mixers every day.

Here is the cocktail menu: http://www.wearefoundingfarmers.com/menus/FF_BarMenu.pdf

I tried the Dark & Stormy, the Farmer's Fizz, and the Constitution. The latter was one of the smoothest drinks I've ever had. They also do a flight of different types of absinthe.

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Just wanted to report that Founding Farmers was at least 90% full for the two hours I was there last night on both levels. I think the appeal has to be the varied menu and large portions of food? All of the plates I saw going by were gargantuan. Didn't try any of the cocktails, stuck with wine instead.

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A friend of mine is a secret shopper and has been there 3 times in the last 2 weeks. She loves it and is very happy with every visit. I tried some leftover meatloaf and thought it was pretty tasty

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Just wanted to report that Founding Farmers was at least 90% full for the two hours I was there last night on both levels. I think the appeal has to be the varied menu and large portions of food? All of the plates I saw going by were gargantuan. Didn't try any of the cocktails, stuck with wine instead.

Sounds like a new Cheesecake Factory.

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