3000 K ST., NW
The Georgetown waterfront flooded in April 2011, swamping restaurants along the harbor. But one of those restaurants, Farmers and Fishers, reopened this month with a new name and concept.
At first glance, the revamped restaurant resembles its sister establishment – Foggy Bottom-favorite Founding Farmers. Both menus list dishes like “nice little salads” and both offer a meatless menu, but beyond that, the two differ in both variety and style. Accordingly, my experience at Farmers Fishers Bakers was unlike any I’ve had at Founding Farmers.
Farmers Fishers Bakers offers an open, inviting space. The walls have exposed piping, raw wood and quirky kitchen utensil designs, including an entire wall
lined with rolling pins. The open kitchen – which they call the “larder” – is painted with a vintage American flag, honoring the restaurant group’s “American true food & drink” philosophy. And you can’t talk about the venue without mentioning the waterfront it overlooks. Patrons can enjoy a serene view of the Potomac River, the Washington harbor and, in winter months, the soon-to-be ice skating rink.
As for the menu, it is lengthy and eclectic. With numerous appetizer options, meaty main course dishes and a host of other offerings, like jambalaya, tacos, pizza, sandwiches, salads and vegetarian and vegan meals, it can all seem a little overwhelming. There are four different categories for seafood alone. Coming here with a large group of people, as I did, makes it easier to sample as much as possible.
We started with the brick oven pretzels ($5) complete with a trio of dipping sauces – sour cream and onion, pimento cheese and barbecue mustard – each more mouth-watering and flavorful than the next. We also ordered the tableside guacamole appetizer ($12) which tasted fresh and authentic.
It was tough to decide which main course to order from the extensive menu. However, both our waitress and guacamole maker said the jambalaya was the best item the restaurant had to offer, so naturally, I ordered the Seafood
Chesapeake Style jambalaya ($22). My plate came overflowing with mussels, clams, crab legs and shrimp on a steaming bed of Andouille sausage and rice, but the excitement stopped there. While the seafood was very well cooked and I loved the variety, the entire dish lacked seasoning. I found myself dipping my shrimp into someone else’s side of barbecue sauce.
The restaurant redeemed itself with the rest of my friends’ dishes. The Ahi Tuna & Lemon Aioli sandwich ($12) had perfectly seared tuna with a warm, tender pink center. The aioli dressed the crispy, toasted bun just enough that the flavor was well-layered. Another fish dish, the Fried Whitefish Sliders ($12), tasted just like a homemade fish fry, with a crunchy outer coating and a juicy center – well salted and definitely a little nostalgic. Both sandwiches were served with crispy fries and homemade barbecue sauce. Of the 13 different pizza options, we chose the Harvest Vegetable Pizza ($10), dressed with a creamy garlic sauce, Brussels sprouts (though the menu says butternut squash), mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of sweet balsamic glaze. The crust was fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
Though I was nearly stuffed, I caved and ordered dessert for the table. Our waitress recommended the Spiced Apple Crisp topped with Government Cheese Ice Cream ($8). At first I was skeptical of the savory ice cream, but it’s traditional in the South to pour melted cheese over apple pie, and this is a spin off of that. While milder than cheddar cheese, the ice cream still had a very apparent cheesy flavor. But paired with warm baked apples in a sweet cinnamon syrup and topped with crunchy granola, the duo came together as a cohesive dessert. Admittedly, I may order vanilla ice cream instead next time, but the unique flavor is worth a try.
For having just recently opened, Farmers Fishers Bakers definitely exceeded my expectations. The staff carries the same attitude and friendliness as their Founding Farmers counterparts, and the food and atmosphere are comforting, begging diners to come back for more. This is a great spot for a date night or dinner with friends, and who knows? It might even become GW’s “new Founding.”