I've gone out to Founding Farmers a few times for lunch when I worked in the District and it was most certainly a welcome lunchtime treat (in comparison to the usual option -- cafeteria food). So the other night, when a friend and I were trying to find a place to eat convenient for the both of us (driver and metro-rider), Founding Farmers fit the bill. Easy to get to (and park) on Penn Ave, and it was a Monday night so we thought it was a solid pick.
We arrived at the restaurant and it was packed. A bit surprising for a Monday. We waited a few minutes for a table and the hostess told us they had a table ready *but* we would have to exit at 8:15pm for a reservation. Seeing as how it was 6:30pm, we thought this was do-able. What we forgot was, this is highly dependent on the wait staff and kitchen. We naively took the table.
The table was actually a shared dining table with two other parties (not the norm for Founding Farmers) and to be honest, it was a bit odd to sit that close to people I have never met to dine with. To start, we ordered the pickled vegetables. I love pickled vegetables but these were a little off. They had a too much lemon flavor and fell short of the crispy deliciousness of a pickled carrot. Disappointing.
For dinner, I ordered the shrimp and grits. It was creamy and delicious, full of shrimp and sausage. It was definitely a huge portion size and I couldn't finish it but overall, a solid dish.
My friend ordered the chicken and waffles. Sadly, the gravy came out cold. When we found the waiter, he quickly replaced the gravy but we all know how annoying it is to sit with a plate of food in front of you that you can't eat because one of the items is missing/cold. The chicken and waffles were okay but nothing to rave about.
After dinner, we noticed it was closely approaching 8pm and we needed to GET OUT for the other reservation. We tried to pick a dessert as fast as possible and unfortunately, the dessert we picked, the beignets, took 20 minutes to prepare. So as a consolation prize, we ordered the red velvet cake. It was gargantuan. Two people could barely but a dent in it. It reminded me of dining at Costco (and tasted a like it too).
The check came quickly and we left. Overall, it was a sub-par meal (B-) and felt very much like a cattle call dining experience -- loud, rushed and overhyped.