Eat like a Rock Star
Restaurant Review of The Farm and the Fisherman
Reviewed By- Abby Reibman- Author of The Desk and The Stove
In a city known for BYOB brilliance, this tiny foodie haven shines a bit brighter than the rest. Conceived and run by husband and wife team Joshua and Colleen Lawler, the farm to table restaurant changes its menu daily.
Brought up under the tutelage of Dan Barber at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Bill Telepan and Telepan in New York, its no wonder Chef Lawler has such respect for his ingredients and a creative mind that spins a dish just enough to make it unique whilst still maintaining its integrity. The menu is divided into three savory courses – while desserts are not their strong suit, there’s still one or two staples on the menu.
We started our meal with one of their signature dishes: bloody beet steak ($11) – a fantastic riff on a steak whereby the beet is seared and then oven-roasted and served with pan drippings and yogurt. While I commend him on this ingenious subversion, the earthy beet itself was slightly overwhelmed by the sweet aged balsamic and honey. By comparison, my sister’s sunchoke soup with apple, lemon and ricotta gnudi ($11) was a perfectly composed symphony of tart, creaminess and earthy tones. Unfortunately, my fried salsify with pistachios and two rather imposing leaves ($11) was a little less satisfying: missing something, it just fell short.
Moving on to our main courses: my duck breast ($26) was the most tender and delicious version I’ve ever had – perfectly cooked and served with a dual of parsley and carrot purees, roasted potatoes and ricotta gnudi; it was worth every mouthful. My sister’s roast chicken ($25) was a bit dry but had a deliciously crispy skin and rich pan jus that added some much needed moisture back into the dish, so I’ll forgive it that one misstep.
The standout for all three of us was my dad’s striped bass ($29). With brussels sprouts that had been seared and then braised (perfectly fitting in with the Chef’s love of multiple cooking techniques), the dish had a distinct smokiness that worked perfectly with the creamy sauce of coriander seeds and cumin. We finished the meal with a classic chocolate lava cake – this time served with a frothy vanilla ice cream, powdered sugar and chopped hazelnuts. While the dessert certainly wasn’t original creation on the menu, the Chef’s focus on savoury is clearly noted: this is a restaurant run by a hard-working team devoted to creating excellent food with a slight twist.
Earning its place amongst Matyson and Marigold’s Kitchen as serving the best New American cuisine in a BYOB establishment, this is one newcomer that is here to stay.
The Farm and Fisherman 1120 Pine Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
Dinner: Tuesday- Sunday, 5-10 pm