An Ounce of Pretension: A Friday Night Out in Ditmas Park

Clandestinely looking towards the front dining area down at 'The Farm'

This past Friday night my girlfriend and I went out to dinner at The Farm on Adderley, located on Courtelyou Road near Coney Island Avenue. I had been to  The Farm not too long after it had opened with family, and was drawn back by the allure of their primo 28 dollar steak.

The trouble started when my girlfriend ordered a ginger ale and expected well, a ginger ale. Now I’ve had many artisinal-type ‘ginger beers’ such as Reed’s, and am used to their more intense ginger and less sweet taste, but this was a new extreme. It tasted downright medicinal. I took a piece of bread, which tasted like a sour-bread foccaccia without the tomatoes, and dipped it in the provided olive oil. The oil did not moisten the bread nearly enough and I immediately had a red-faced coughing/choking fit as my esophagus tried in vain to carry it down to my stomach.

We both remarked at the calculated snootiness of many of the patrons; we were surrounded by a sea of spandex-jeans and man-scarfs. The place seemed much more hipster-fied than I had previously noticed; maybe living in Bensonhurst the past half year had made me more aware of this? The only “normal” people seemed to be the middle-aged couples, God bless their presence. Okay, initial impressions were not great, but we were both willing to wait for the main course before passing final judgment.

A couple of The Farm On Adderley's patrons

Luckily our entrees did not disappoint. My girlfriend’s Farm Burger was delicious, the meat was of such a high quality that my girlfriend, who usually gets her burgers well done, wished she had ordered medium. It came on a toasted English muffin, which she thought was good enough to win over converts from the church of buns and rolls. My rib eye steak was done a succulent medium rare with a wonderful sauce which tasted like it was made from seasoned pan drippings. I loved the parsnips (a cross between a white carrot and sweet potato) and slice of pear which accompanied my steak, and contrasted each other perfectly.

Farm Burger with fries

Rib eye steak with parsnips and pear slices

Desert was a shared slice of ginger cake topped with passion fruit mousse and garnished with slices of passion fruit in syrup. My girlfriend who is an experienced amateur baker thought the ginger cake was impressive; it held together well and had a nice texture, not too dry nor too moist. We both liked the mousse but felt it didn’t flatter the ginger cake; a blank palette of vanilla might have served the purpose better. I had my coffee refilled, it was quite good.

Overall it was a worthwhile experience: On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, I gave The Farm On Adderley a 3.5 for Affordability, 4.0 for Value, a 5.0 for Service, 4.5 for food (including some deductions for the bread and ginger ale), and a 4.0 for atmosphere. There were many things we liked about the decor, including the furniture and lighting, plus the entrees were fantastic, but the pretentious customers, over-priced drinks and bad indie music lost them points in the end. Based on these 5 criteria The Farm On Adderley received a total score of:

4.2 inanimate objects.

Ginger cake with passion fruit mousse

After dinner we went down the block to a bar named Sycamore, which I had heard was opened by the owners of The Farm. It’s a cute bar that’s part flower shop, where you can get a pint and a bouquet for an economical 10 dollars. The mixed drinks were a dollar or two more than they should have been, but the crowd was mixed enough for a non-scenester to not feel too out of place.

After a couple of drinks we walked down to Coney Island Avenue and the 773 Lounge where the dart boards are regulation and the blue collar patrons dance and sing along with equal fervor to Johnny Cash and James Brown. An initially cold reception gave way to smiles and it soon felt like an easier place to let our hair down and enjoy ourselves.

The night ended down the block with a not-great cup of coffee, some surprisingly good cheese fries (side of gravy, please!) and store-made coleslaw at George’s Restaurant, a 24-hour greasy spoon on Coney Island Avenue near Courtelyou, a place that I hope will remain there for years to come.

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