I’d been hearing a lot about the hot hipster portrait of George Washington commissioned for Farmers & Distillers, the latest concept from the Farmers Restaurant Group. The restaurant’s theme focuses on the question of “What would George Washington do if he was alive today?”
We’re certain this younger, man-bun-sporting stud would still be considered a gentleman and a scholar were he alive today. I would most likely swipe right. However, I was not in my finest state at this particular brunch, having accepted our invite to try this brunch before a much-needed hair appointment.
I have conflicting feelings about buffets generally, let alone for brunch. But, I was cautiously optimistic given that the Farmer’s restaurants do cater to vegetarians like myself. Upon arriving and being seated, I cheerfully ordered a Bellini. Meanwhile, my brunch date, Manisha, was partaking in a booze-free February and chose a hibiscus scratch soda. She was hard out of luck as the cold-pressed juices were unavailable, due to a missed farm delivery that morning. Priced at $10 a pop, the Bellini was stronger than expected, and tasted delightful.
Not quite ready to embark on the buffet, we started with a few passed items for table. The Eggs Benedict arrived first, followed by crispy vegetables and tuna tartare. The Eggs Benedict was well prepared and tasted great. I especially liked the crispy vegetables while Manisha enjoyed the flavor and crispiness in the tuna tartare.
We were surprised by how lively the restaurant was before noon. Eventually, we made our way to the buffet priced affordably at $30. The brunch buffet includes complimentary coffee and tea, and the caffeine was much needed.
At first glance, I was utterly overwhelmed by number of buffet stations, ranging from hot to cold and incorporating global cuisines. It’s possible that I may have missed a history lesson or two, but I was unable to comprehend how the Chinese station fit into the George Washington theme. (Turns out, it’s an ode to the restaurant’s Chinatown location… but still.)
Manisha and I managed to fill our plates with several salads, steamed veggies, and egg and griddle options. A carnivore, Manisha found the carving station to be the highlight of the buffet. While she enjoyed the pork sausage links, she said the sticky ribs could have been much warmer but she did like the marinade. Manisha was excited to try the meatballs, but was disappointed by their dryness. During her first trip, she was crushed to discover the buffet was out of salmon and when she returned, the salmon was cold. Such is the problem with buffets. She went back to try blueberry pancakes, which were flipped to perfection.
While the buffet did include a number of vegetarian items, unfortunately the items I most wanted to try from the buffet needed replenishing or had turned cold. I made do with the choices remaining. The Parmesan grits and kale salad were a nice change from my usual choices. But, I was in search of comfort food and resorted to the smoky flavored red mac and cheese. It was fine. Meanwhile, the heirloom carrots looked pretty, but tasted otherwise.
The fried shrimp came by multiple times but Manisha wasn’t a fan—it was cold and the accompanying sauce lacked flavor. The final passed item for the table were pork dumplings, which ended up being a winner.
I called it quits after the first lap around the buffet and decided it was time to end brunch on a sweet note. I picked up a yogurt parfait and ordered the cold Virginian, a cocktail I felt describes yours truly. The cold brew coffee cocktail with rye whiskey was a bit too boozy for me, but the cinnamon whipped cream did add a much-needed sweetness.
The number of doughnut varieties caught my eye, as we Bitches have a weakness for doughnuts. Manisha and I grabbed a couple that stood out to us and taste tested each. The toasted coconut chocolate doughnut was her favorite—she would have gladly taken half a dozen home. As a big proponent of apple cider doughnuts, the apple cinnamon screamed my name and exceeded my expectations. The chocolate glazed doughnut was decent, but forgettable.
Preparing and serving brunch buffet style is often a challenge. We find there’s too much happening, which results in inconsistencies and items turning cold.
The Bitches say: C. For an affordable brunch buffet, friendly service, and interesting concept–the doughnuts were delicious and the passed items were a welcome addition.
Farmers & Distillers
600 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.,
Washington, DC 20001
Farmers & Distillers serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.