The newest addition to the antiseptic safe-corporate-food wonderland called “The Town Center” is a concept from the D.C. region. Founding Farmers is a Farmer-owned consortium dedicated to bringing real fresh mostly “locavore” ingredients to the table.
Though unable to snag a reservation for the opening brunch last weekend, Open Table found a spot for me, my wife, and 24-year-old son (from Olde City) at 1:45. The brunch ends at 2:00.
Typically, I avoid brunch like the plague. I hate eggs. I like Azie in Villanova, mostly because of the sushi, and because not everything has eggs as the main ingredient. The menu here was very promising, and leaned more toward the “lunch” side of BrUNCH. When I DO go to brunch, I try to avoid booking just before it ends, to avoid the “sorry we’re out of the featured items for which you specifically came and paid our usurious prices” situation. For $30, I was hoping not to be disappointed, not because that was more than this food was worth, but because it would have been had they not served what was advertised.
My tip of the hat to the breakfast side was a morsel of maple sausage, which would have been good had it been warm. I was pleased that the carvery was in full operation, and the brisket, though not of the smoked variety, was tender and juicy. The turkey was among the best I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant, and I could have made a meal of that. The Spicy and Southern Fried chicken were both spot on. Perfectly done, breaded, and obviously a high quality bird. Skin was nice and crisp. The Mac and cheese were creamy and luscious, the pasta made in-house from flour they mill themselves from grain they grow themselves. You get the idea. They do NOT spare the hand-churned butter in anything which calls for it.
Plate two called for seconds at the carvery for brisket and turkey, and I added a gratuitous sliver of pedestrian pizza and a leg of “beer can” roasted chicken that was good, and likely a bit healthier than seconds of the fried stuff (because I try to be health conscious at buffets like this.) I added some pork belly, but the fat had not rendered enough and it was overly-smoky.
We did have to ask our friendly and efficient waiter to flag down the promised pierogi cart (which we had not seen after more than a half hour of craning our necks) and a genuine Polish guy appeared nearly instantly proffering spinach pierogi (which probably would not have been my first choice, but I counted them as a vegetable, so it was worth it.) They were VERY good, swimming in an herbed butter sauce with a hint of lemon. Potatoes added a silken smoothness to the spinach,filling in tender, just-right dough.
After the pierogi palate cleanser, I opted for a seafood course, and sampled a wonderfully glazed planked salmon. It was VERY close to the mac and cheese, so I snagged another dollop of that to add the additional carb side of homemade mashed potatoes enriched with cream, and more of that delicious hand-churned butter. I also tasted the chili (meh) on some excellent toasted artisan bread.
For the dessert, I selected strawberry from the Strawberry/Vanilla/Chocolate offerings of hand churned/hand dipped ice creams and enhanced it with some strawberries in syrup, whipped cream,peanuts and a side of maple-glazed doughnut with a dollop of bananas foster.
Artisan cocktails were excellent, as my son and I tasted each other’s. At $12, not cheap, but complex and made with small-batch house distilled liquors, worth the price. They were quite potent.
It would be wise to give them a cool-down period and get an earlier seating. I could not really tell which items were not there but were supposed to be, but there were very few vegetables present aside from some kale-based salads and some broccoli di rabe (which I had yesterday on a pork sandwich, so it was too soon to have again.)
A number of items were unlabelled, and my wife noticed the shrimp had begun to dry toward the end.
I am really pleased with the concept, and glad that the farm-to-table ingredients ensure my meal was wholesome and nutritious without regard to calories or fat content.
Worth checking out, with the above caveats.