We caught a bite here tonight and the highlight was being able to sit outside while Michelle Branch was doing a free/benefit concert for the Wednesday summer Donor series, and we could hear quite well. It was crowded earlier when the opening act (Jason Castro from American Idol last season, playing with The Heavy Steadies and doing a tight set) was starting. We tried to sit at the fountain-side tables, but they were full, and they also can't/won't serve beer or wine. I'm going to guess they would if they could.
We grabbed a quick glass of rose procecco at the Italian place and I loved the fun and charming server in the outside lounge. Drink was delicious too.
I was a bit mislead by The Farm of.... since last time I ate at someplace called that it was a exceptional place called The Farm in Redlands that does a kind of whole animal cooking, rabbit and duck and local meat and produce. This one was more predictable and I don't get the farm reference at all. I was drawn to it because of the mention of the great burger in a burger thread, but I didn't want one tonight. My ISP was slow so I couldn't research as I would have liked.
The hostess was great and snagged us an outdoor table asap. We were so happy. Our server was attentive and checked back, but the English speaking wasn't there, so no great dialogue. Just 'are you ready, yes or no', (no, no, no, no, yes) 'beverage, yes or no' 'do you want water, yes or no.' And that was just fine except....
We split an order of coconut shrimp appetizer ($12.50). It was just want you want in this guilty pleasure dish. I don't think I've had it for 5 or 10 years. 5 large shrimp, cooked right, sweet and tangy simple sauce.
The problem was with my Black and Blue Salad ($16.50). I was starvin like marvin, but I've also had a salad jones lately. This wasn't a great salad. I did notice after that is says iceberg lettuce in the description, and I like it when I want crunch, but I wanted flavor. A little arugula mixed in would have gone a long way. There were onion string crumbles that had no discernable taste or texture, surprisingly. The diced tomatoes had no flavor at all and they were sparse, again tomatoes and beef and arugula? killer! They crumbled a nice blue cheese on top, but it was gone by the time I ate the outside layer. I gave my friend some salad and she had no blue cheese crumbles at all she said. Worse was the beef slices. I looked hard when I saw that the slices had been seared off. I thought that was strange, but we were talking and paying attention to the music, too busy to notice and had no connection to the waitstaff. The beef was so tough it was hard for me to cut with a knife and fork. To me, it had an unpleasant musky gamey flavor masked by spice rub, but my dining partner liked the flavor. I thought they used the cheap and tough round cut often labeled 'london broil'. I just figured that 's how they did it to make a profit at all. I know that there are so many horrible places in LA that stay in business just because some people will eat stuff like this, when in San Francisco they would be so gone.
The kicker was when I used the restroom before leaving and, walking through the dining room, I saw another order of that salad. It was served with perfect looking rosey medium rare slices of beef. I was flabergasted. I realized the kitchen must have undercooked my beef, then just put the slices in the pan to cook it off and over cooked it, and no one thought I would know the difference, I suppose. Well I didn't know , I just thought they sucked.
My dining partner had the ravioli ($14.50) and they were fresh and the cream and mushroom sauce was very nice. Nothing to rave about, but a more satisfying order.
I wish I had stopped to tell them how very disappointed I was. But we needed to get home, and there was no obvious person to talk to. I saw a manager rushing around when we were first waiting for a seat. Never saw again.
I say skip this place. I would not go again, excepting the nice location to hear the free concerts. Stick to apps and drinks (and mayyyybe that burger, but I really doubt it now.)