I think an appropriate way to ring out the year is with a review from one of the most recognized and covered restaurant in Washington - Founding Farmers. Go out with the old, and start the new year fresh with a new restaurant (that's coming). Ever since I knew I was moving to DC, I couldn't go more than a few conversations without people asking or telling me to get to Founding Farmers as a pillar of the best available in the city. It took me a little while to make it happen (and only thanks to a friend from Chicago no less), but I did, and now I continue to favor by taking months to actually write about it. Happy New Year and cheers to more good eating in 2014!
Overall my experience at FF matched the expectations, but more appropriately matched MY expectations of a "fantastic" DC restaurant experience. Our service was top notch, very helpful, friendly, nice, etc. We even received a very nice and unexpected touch of a free dessert because our server like US so much. It's been a while since that happened. The drinks and cocktails were great and timely - we were well served. The entire theme and menu is really fun and refreshing. A menu crafted with sustainability and locally sourced ingredients is always a plus and variety of choices also welcoming.
From the small plate section to start our meal we went with the trio of Devil-ish Eggs Combo (Maine Lobster, Crab and Smoked Salmon). I don't remember which one I like the most, probably the crab with bay seasoning, because all were great and fun. I haven't had fun eating deviled eggs since childhood. That was joined by the fried green tomatoes and the skillet corn bread (with sea salt and honey butter).
The fried green tomatoes were only meh and kind of a let down, but the skillet corn bread was fantastic and just a great presentation. I love the mini cast iron skillet brought right to the table. We shared a main course of skirt steak enchilada and the seasonal fish (forget which one) with sides of kale and couscous. Both plates were solid, with the steak beating out the fish for flavor and sophistication just barely. The enchilada plate with avocado, corn, steak, etc was just a more well rounded and colorful experience. The fish was well prepared, but just less interesting. Can't go wrong with either, just depends on your mood.
The end of the meal featured some awesome cocktails and a free dessert of apple pie a la mode. Winners all around. I wish I remembered what the drinks were so I could order elsewhere, but I faintly remember asked the server for something fun and different and she responded with something that wasn't on the menu but used to be. Oh well. It's great and should be back on there. Apple pie? Yes please. Old school style with real large chunks of apple, and a crust that wasn't too sweet or doughy. Ice cream awesome.
All in all I can see why Founding Farmers has the following and reputation of high quality. It's good all around with a diverse and interesting menu for all to enjoy, good service and pretty reasonable pricing. I don't think anything really blew me away but for a reliable experience from top to bottom this is in the top of my list for DC thus far. I've also heard the brunch service is even better than dinner so that might have to happen shortly.