Saturday, April 13, 2013

Alphabet Dining, Letter F: Farmer Brown

Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
CW from TL: Cornbread Muffins, Crispy Cornmeal Catfish, Rib Plate, Chicken Pot Pie

Farmer Brown Restaurant

     "How was Farmer Brown?" Open Table asked me following our reservation. "Meh..." I found myself saying aloud. Don't let the pictures fool you. Farmer Brown gets points for presentation, but loses many in other areas, such as service, hidden fees, and the food itself. 


Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
 Upon entering Farmer Brown, you can tell they are going for a hip, industrial vibe. They had a DJ pumping music from his corner booth, and Soul Train videos projected on screens throughout the venue. I was hopeful.

Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
Back of the Farmer Brown Menu

     I thought the industrial steel backing of the menu was a fun touch. 

Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
Mason Jars

     Mason jar cups. I prefer glasses, but I get it for the industrial farmer theme. 

     I was unimpressed by the service at Farmer Brown. While waiting for the rest of our party to arrive, I browsed the shelf by the hostess' podium. A waiter was chatting with the hostess and asked her what one of the stacks of stickers on the shelf meant. It read "#LHSF." I leaned in and let them know it stood for "Lower Haight SF," and that it was a hashtag from Twitter. Both the waiter and hostess just looked at me before continuing to chat away. Guess patrons aren't allowed to speak to staff unless spoken to??
     Later, the same man turned out to be our waiter. He did not seem too friendly, and when we were ready to order he simply raised his eyebrows and looked around for one of us to decide to give our order. 
     To top it off, I was brought a fried chicken entree instead of my fried catfish, and my actual order didn't come out until my party was almost done eating. No discount offered, and I think I got one half-hearted apology. Not impressed!!
Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
Mini Cornbreads

     Sadly, these complimentary Mini Cornbread Muffins were the highlight of my Farmer Brown Dining experience. They were delicious, not too heavy, and free. I should have stopped after these. 
     I do wish they had told us we were going to receive these complimentary muffins when we ordered our Angel Biscuit appetizers. The combination of muffins and biscuits was pretty filling even before our entrees came out. 


Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
Angel Biscuits and Honey Butter

     Again, I think I would have enjoyed these Angel Biscuits and Honey Butter more if we had not been given delicious cornbread muffins to eat right before. 


Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
Crispy Cornmeal Catfish w/ hush puppies, candied yams, pickled onions, garlic green beans and sauce gribiche

     Looks good, right? It's just too bad I had to wait until my party was 3/4 done with their plates to receive it - and no discount offered. They originally brought me the fried chicken, though I ordered this plate of Crispy Cornmeal Catfish, with hush puppies, candied yams, pickled onions, garlic green beans and sauce gribicheI would have given points for the large portions, but because it came so late this was more of a nuisance than anything. By the time it arrived I was forced to rush through my meal, and ended up taking a large portion of it home. I'm all for leftovers, but reheated catfish is not too appetizing!

Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco

     The food was very heavy - fried cornmeal catfish with gribiche (mayonnaise-like sauce), fried hushpuppies, even the green beans were doused in some sort of buttery glaze. The taste was not bad, but it was the sort of meal that sits heavy in your gut and makes you want to do nothing but succumb to food coma. There was no light, healthy portion to the plate to offset all the fried, greasy ingredients. 

Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco

     Chester enjoyed his classic Rib Plate, which came with steak fries, jalapeno coleslaw and a side of BBQ sauce

Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
Southern Fried Chicken, w/macaroni & cheese and ham hock mustard greens.

     Chanda ordered the Southern Fried Chicken,which consisted of light & dark meatmacaroni & cheese and ham hock mustard greens. She was left unimpressed by the fried chicken, which is a shame considering Farmer Brown specializes in soul food. Our party entered into a conversation about great places to get fried chicken & waffles - such as Gussies and Roscoe's. I think it's a shame when a customer has to daydream about other restaurants to get through their meal. She also had to ask our waiter multiple times for a side of ketchup.

Farmer Brown Restaurant San Francisco
Chicken Pot Pie & Mixed Greens

     This was Rebecca's first time EVER trying chicken pot pie. She enjoyed the meal, but mentioned that for the price she expected larger portions. I don't blame her, considering the enormous portions given to my catfish and Chester's rib order. It seemed the plate portions at FB vary depending on what you order. 

Overall Experience

     Put simply, I would not place Farmer Brown's at the top of my recommendation list. I went in excited by the ambiance - DJ booth, Soul Train, adorable Menu & delicious complimentary Mini Cornbread Muffins. Unfortunately I was unimpressed from there. 
     The staff was unfriendly, my order came out as the rest of my party was finishing their meals, and the food itself was very heavy and greasy. When the bill came, we were asked for an additional tip on top of the included 18% gratuity. 
     Though we unanimously voted to try Farmer Brown's, it turned out less than spectacular and nothing to write home about.

Farmerbrown on Urbanspoon


  1. Chelsea, that was not a pleasant dining experience was it? Service is all important as is the quality of the food. I once took my family to TGI Fridays for lunch and the waiter was extremely rude. We had asked him to give us a couple of minutes to decide on our order and when we were ready, he simply ignored us. So we walked out never to return!

    1. Wow! So disrespectful. Definitely agree that service is just as important!

  2. Aw, so sad the service was terrible! Even when the food would have been delicious, when the service is bad I don't think I would return.

  3. Customer Service is HUGE pet peeve of mine...maybe it's cause I'm a Hotel, Restaurant, Institutional Management major?? haha But, it can in my opinion, completely ruin an establishment for me. Even if the food is off the chain delicious. Most likely I won't go back because if I'm paying for food that I can most likely make just as good at home, then service needs to be on par.

    I do like the sound of jalapeno cole slaw though! That sounds bangin :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    1. Hahah what a great major! These guys could use a course or two. Bad customer service is a huge pet peeve of mine too, as you could probably tell lol. Totally agree that service outweighs even great food!

      Thanks for stopping by Happy Valley Chow :)


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