The Soul of the City Lives in the Tenderloin

Bay Area foodie reviews Farmerbrown

By MARIAM HOSSEINI
|  Wednesday, Apr 7, 2010  |  Updated 11:00 AM PDT
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The Soul of the City Lives in the Tenderloin

Cornbread at Farmerbrown.

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I’ve lamented in the past about San Francisco’s lack of sufficient soul food restaurants.

I might find some good fried chicken at one restaurant and tasty mac and cheese at another, but a restaurant hitting every southern classic nail on the head has been hard to come by. Until now.

Located in the Tenderloin, Farmerbrown is where the great dishes of the south meet the organic and sustainability-consciousness of the West Coast.
 
When I visited with a large group, we waited at the bar while our table was made ready. I enjoyed a Scrimshaw Pilsner while I took in the warm, hip vibe. The crowd is young here, with a fantastic playlist to match. (Farmerbrown often has a DJ as well.)

Once we were seated, cornbread and honey butter was served, which comes with every meal.

These were light and fluffy to nibble on while we waited for our appetizers. Next came the fried okra.

I’m a huge fan of okra, and wish that more people appreciated this often-overlooked vegetable. These were crispy without being too oily, and the creamy sauce on the side was the perfect compliment. I could eat these all day.

Our potato steak fries with aioli arrived next.

These were good but I found myself wishing for more okra instead. The sauce was a nice compliment, but overall this wasn’t very flavorful.

Next came my entree: Rocky Range fried chicken with macaroni and Tillamook cheddar cheese and collard greens.

Internet, the trifecta of perfect chicken, mac and cheese, and collard greens all at one restaurant has been achieved. Whatever spices they’re putting in their chicken at farmerbrown, they need to keep doing it. The chicken was so juicy, the skin was so crispy, I hardly knew what to do with myself. And the mac and cheese? So creamy. Best of all, it didn’t form into a stuck-together mass once it cooled down, the way some mac and cheese does. Oh, and the collard greens were tender and lip-smackingly seasoned.

I walked out of farmerbrown stuffed and content. I can no longer complain about a shortage of soul food in San Francisco. farmerbrown has a Sunday brunch buffet too which I’ve heard is fantastic (and yes, they serve their fried chicken for brunch as well). Next time, I’ll check that out. I can’t wait to go back.

Mariam Hosseini is a Bay Area native who has been writing about food and travel for six years.  She blogs regularly at yogurtsoda.com
 

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