by Alia Fite
Floral green print lines the walls and wicker baskets of fruit adorn the wooden stair railing, and for a second I think I’m at a B&B in Napa Valley. As I turn to look out the window, I spot a taxicab and am reminded that we’re in Manhattan.
Located in Gramercy, Friend of a Farmer is a rustic escape for city-goers looking for a little country. And trust me, people do. Even before 9 am the alfresco seating is already packed with post-workout duos, and the downstairs dining area isn’t too sparse either. We ate in the upstairs dining room, and with a sloped roof and windows, the area is reminiscent of sitting in the corner of your grandmother’s attic.
The waitress was quick to take drink orders, and I notice that the beverage offerings—including freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and French press coffee—all run at four dollars, only one dollar short of the bagel with cream cheese. The French-press coffee, though, has rich flavor and it is well worth more than two small brews at any overpriced coffee shop in the area.
I peruse the menu to find over ten egg dishes in addition to sweet offerings like pumpkin pancakes, and finally decide on Friend of a Farmer’s take on the classic Eggs Benedict: the “Salmon Bennie.” Upon being served I poke my fork into the perfectly cooked egg, allowing the yoke to seep into the English muffin. The muffin is served slightly too crunchy, but the egg eventually softened the bread and the dish became moist goodness with a little crunch. The pile of salmon, which had a deeply smoked flavor and a smooth—but not slimy—texture, became a little too salty come the last few bites but certainly made the dish. I ordered the Hollandaise sauce on the side, and was happily surprised when the sauce was neither too creamy nor too thin, with just the right amount of tang.
At $14.95 for the Salmon Bennie the price seemed steep, but the portions made up for the cost. I was stuffed before I could finish the remainder of my second egg and muffin, and a fellow diner was more than happy to polish off my plate. In addition, I was given a choice of toast, home fries, fruit, or salad to accompany my meal, and I decided on the fruit. Mounds of perfectly ripe cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, strawberries, and pineapple were a slightly sweet addition to the savory dish, and the French press coffee, which lasted me for three full cups, topped everything off nicely.
At reasonable—but certainly not cheap—prices, Friend of a Farmer encourages those looking for good food and kind service not to be a stranger.
Friend of a Farmer is located at 77 Irving Place and is open Monday – Thursday 8 am – 10 pm, Friday 8 am – 11 pm, Saturday 9:30 am – 11 pm, Sunday 9:30 am – 10 pm and takes reservations for every time except weekend brunch at (212) 477-2188.