Tom Sietsema came out with guns blazing this week. His target? Uber-popular restaurant Founding Farmers.
The critic has never liked the restaurant, having given it a half star back in 2012. He re-examines the destination and has zero stars to award this time around (only the second zero star review in the critic's history). He writes:
Almost everything I've eaten here in recent months — chicken wings so small they should be called chick wings, gummy cheesy pasta with listless lobster — smacks of coming from something other than a kitchen with a chef in charge. (Kudos, however, for the homey mashed potatoes.) Whoever penned the epic menu, invariably sticky from fingers other than my own, apparently didn't want to leave a soul behind. The portions are enormous, which only magnifies their flaws.
He calls the pickled vegetables "unpleasantly mouth-puckering," and a surf and turf dish a "forced marriage." He also takes the staff to task for never asking why his dishes remained largely untouched. "Had my waiter inquired, my posse would have told him the swamp posing as shrimp and grits was about as close to the southern model as rap is to opera," he says.
The review is of the original location, but the restaurant has offshoots in Potomac and Tysons Corner, with a sister restaurant in Georgetown and more expansions to come. Sietsema acknowledges the downtown location is appealing, and has some kind words for the drinks, at least. "Therein lies a key to survival: Never mind that it's noon. Order a Sazerac. It will help you forget what you're about to eat, or at least keep you much better company than the cooking." Ouch.