To ensure that we all keep in touch and get out a little more often, my friends and I formed a brunch group. Well, we do a lot of things together regardless, but it just seemed logical to focus heavily on our shameless interest in eating. One of my friends has lovingly dubbed us The Brunch Bitches and jokes that we should start making our own key chains and other memorabilia. I’ll leave the name up in the air… But I do love the idea that we’ve sort of formed a club. The first place we visited was Friend of a Farmer, a brunch place one of my friends absolutely loves.
Friend of a Farmer is decorated as if it’s a cozy home in the countryside. The patterned wallpaper, wooden picture frames, and hanging copper pans help to take away from the fact that the restaurant is jam packed. It’s difficult to pull out your seat without bumping into a server or fellow guest. But I think that’s a bit of the charm of the place.
About a good ten to fifteen minutes after we ordered, we realized that all the tables around us – who had ordered and arrived after us – were receiving some sort of complementary dish. We inquired with our server, who said that he would “check on it.” The complementary dish was cornbread with apple chutney in the middle. I found the cornbread to be extremely dry; the edges in particular were so hard that I gave up trying to piece my fork through it. It was a disappointing start to the meal.
The Hearty Omelette ($12) arrived in a cast iron skillet and was accompanied by a side of home fries. The filling consisted of roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese, a pairing that received approval from the diner. The size of the omelette itself is pretty large. The home fries were also really good.
The bagel with cream cheese and strawberry jam ($5) came toasted. The person who ordered it thought it was a bit hard. Plus, paying $5 for a bagel just seems kinda wrong.
The most impressive thing about the Salmon Bennie ($17) was the poached eggs. They were cooked so well that you could gently cut through the egg whites and see the yolk still keep its shape before gently oozing out. Somehow, though, and this may be a little bit picky – the presentation was lacking. The food just looked quite sad and lonely on the large plate.
The Belgian waffle with strawberries and bananas ($15) was crispy yet soft. The eater didn’t rave about it, however – “Yeah, it’s good.” Perhaps he just missed the ones in Brussels.
The Boomer Special ($17) is a good choice if you want to try a bit of everything. It comes with choice of French toast or pancakes (buttermilk, pumpkin, blueberry, or apple), a choice of bacon, ham, or sausage, and scrambled eggs. I got the blueberry pancakes with sausage. The sausage had a strange gritty texture. I wish it had been moister. The blueberry pancakes had a crispy coating that got me really excited, but they fell apart the moment I cut through them. The pancakes were so difficult to eat and ended up turning into a mushy mess when I added the syrup. This was one filling plate, though.
What made me most disappointed was the service. Not only did they make us wait a long time for ordering, receiving our food, and getting the check, but the server who gave us our bill had the nerve to come back to us and ask why we hadn’t given more tip. We had given about 15-16%. Yes, it’s probably lower than the 18-20% that a lot of New Yorkers feel obligated to give, but it wasn’t as if we were trying to imply bad service with a 10% or lower tip. If anything, his actions made me wish that I had given a smaller tip. The lack of professionalism was upsetting.
Overall, the food at Friend of a Farmer stayed true to a homely breakfast, but not all the components excelled. With the long line, crowded dining spaces, and charming décor, I expected Friend of a Farmer to leave me blown away because of my friend’s ardor for the place. But I was left mainly thinking about how they managed to find all those rooster plates – not the food and definitely not the service.
Friend of a Farmer
77 Irving Pl
New York, NY 10003