Joey Giannuzzi, the "chef" behind the now-closed Green Gourmet in Delray beach, has partnered with a RE developer to open Farmer's Table; another "fresh" gimmick restaurant trying to tap into the "I don't care what it tastes like; it's good for me" market.jump-->
If you're not sure what this is; think Season's 52. Personally I think that this kind of concept is a really bad idea for a Hotel, because it only appeals to a small percentage of the population. While there might be enough gullible people in Boca Raton to pay more for bad-tasting food, you're forcing many of your hotel guests to eat food that they don't like. If I knew that a hotel had a restaurant like this in it as the main (and only) restaurant, I'd opt to stay somewhere else. On their web site they call their cuisine "feel good food"; which tells you all you need to know about the recipes.
The place I was going to in Boca was unexpectedly closed for lunch, so I thought about this place. It's located very close to the Glades/95 intersection so it's a quick exit to the parkway. I checked their hours (not that it had done me any good at the previous place) and they have their lunch hours listed at 11am-5pm, so I rolled down Military Trail and got here at 2:50pm. The hours on the door said "Lunch 11am-5pm", so I figured I was good to go.
The hostess greeted me normally (more on this later), and seated me in the dining room. The decor is early modern burlap; I'm sure that everything is "reclaimed" and cleaned with only purified water from Antarctica.
Farmer's Table Bar
The dining room has a lot of booths, which are a good thing. I purposely looked closely at the clientele and my suspicions were confirmed; mostly groups of middle-aged ladies and one older couple who were likely staying in the hotel; no groups of guys or fun young people eating here; at least not at this hour.
Farmer's Table Dining Room
My server went through a boring buzz word presentation citing their use of local sources, organic ingredients and assuring me that they don't use butter or fat when cooking, which also assured me that nothing was going to taste very good. Note to restaurants: I'm sitting in the restaurant, you don't need to sell it to me. I had to prompt her to tell me the soups of the day, which is the only thing I cared about.>
I ordered an iced tea with extra lemon, which was delivered with 2 thin slices that didn't amount to a single wedge. "Extra" now apparently means "slice a wedge in half". The tea was delivered with no sweeteners; I had to flag down my server to ask her to bring me some. No splenda here; they have a unique choice of branded Stevia and some other unknown "natural" choice.
Farmer's Table Sweeteners
Raw sugar doesn't dissolve in iced tea, so I went with Stevia; my first time having it since the finale of Breaking Bad; a step that eventually needed to be taken. Stevia derivatives vary in taste depending on what they add; this wasn't bad, with no noticeable after taste.
The original lunch menu had Zero items that I would order on it, which is one reason I hadn't been here before. They've added some more mainstream choices now; probably a result of ticked-off hotel guests. I ordered the Chicken Paillard; I feared that I wouldn't like it so I also ordered the Tomato Basil soup, figuring it was a safer choice.
Farmers Table Tomato Soup
The soup was piping hot; I'd literally tasted one spoonful of the soup when a runner brought out my entree. Just fantastic.
Farmers Table: Soup and Entree come together
I'm not sure what the other plate was for, since there wasn't any bread.
I took another couple of sips of the soup and as my server was walking by she said "Wow, that came out fast". I queried her as to why but she had no idea. "They are making some changes", she stated. So a restaurant is making changes without informing the servers? As it turns out, real lunch ends at 3pm; and not only does it end, but the kitchen shuts down at 3pm sharp and they only serve salads and cold food from 3pm to 5pm. Of course they could have held it in the back for a few minutes if they were properly organized.
The soup tasted exactly like if you added hot water to tomato sauce. I decided it wasn't worth letting the entree get cold, so I pushed it aside and started on the main event.
Farmer's Table Chicken Paillard
If you read anything about my diet last month you know that I'm not against a "purpose meal" once in a while, but the idea that you should avoid fat altogether is beyond misguided. A couple of tastes and I realized that I wasn't eating this without salt; because apparently seasonings are bad for you also. Of course there's no salt and pepper on the table and my server was nowhere to be found. Desperate to have some food, I flagged down someone who was probably a manager, and he got me the salt and pepper. These vegetables were crying for some butter, but I knew I wasn't getting any of it in this place.
The menu claims that the vegetables are sauteed, but I'm not sure what they were sauteed in; they just seemed dry grilled. Sauteing requires fat; Im sorry but cooking with cooking spray doesn't qualify as sauteing. I'd never order squash on purpose, but the vegetables where passable once properly salted. The Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa) "pilaf" sort of tasted like a bad stuffing. Quinoa is one of the fake "health" foods that has made a stellar rise as an alternative grain; something that's much more expensive than rice but only marginally more nutritious. Quinoa has more protein than rice, but also 6x the fat, so avoiding fat only appears to apply to tasty fats like olive oil and butter.
The same went for the chicken; once salted it was decent; they call this a "grain mustard jus" but I couldn't detect any mustard. Not bad, but did I notice anything superior about this pampered, free range raised in Boca Raton chicken to the stuff I buy in Publix every week? No, not at all.
Music was surprisingly decent, with Dave Matthews mixed in with Donavon Frankenreiter.
Service was as bad as service can be, my server walked by twice with my skinny iced tea glass empty but it had no impact on her. Cheap with the lemon, Tea and food service without an offer of sweeteners or salt and pepper, no refill on a $3 iced tea and she had no understanding of the restaurant's hours or policies. She also couldn't explain how the split pea soup was prepared. $3 tip today on this $26 lunch.
A chicken cutlet for $16; a place to go if your only goal is to "Feel Good" about what you're eating.