In search of an organic restaurant in Davis, we tried Farmers Kitchen Cafe. Everything we read on their website promised exactly the meal we wanted in a quaint, quiet setting. But it was not to be. The food: the French Onion soup was very good; the flavors mild yet rich; and the Caesar salad was very good; and the sautéed tofu was an excellent delight.
But it the two "risotto" dishes (black bean and Swiss chard) that were their downfall. A decent risotto is very easy & simple to prepare: cook rice (Arborio or other fat grain variety) in an open pot while constantly stirring in regular addition of broth or other liquid until the rice is done, about 30 minutes. This is not only what we were NOT served.
And the chard / black beans advertised as the type of risotto were not even incorporated into the rice (which would take place as a final step in last 5 minutes or so. Instead these were cooked and served separately over mushy, flavorless rice. These are NOT risottos. For us who had the "swiss chard risotto", the chard was so salty that it was inedible unless taken with a bite of the rice or the delicious sautéed tofu. Worse, the chard was more than overcooked.
Few vegetables are as easy to cook: put in pan of heated olive oil with small amount of water or broth, stir for 2-3 minutes till starting to wilt, and serve. Whoever added salt could not be familiar with preparing leafy greens, especially in a restaurant. It's the customer who always is to decide if added salt is needed. The potentially wonderful flavor of this locally grown produce was completely overwhelmed by the salt and basically unrecognizable as Swiss chard.
We would have sent these entrées back for something new but for the amazingly difficult effort it took to negotiate the whole dining experience. We were urged to order in advance as service could not be guaranteed within the 90 minutes we'd allotted for dinner. To ask for new entrées risked not getting any dinner.
I would urge these lovely, well meaning owners to rethink the restaurant portion of their enterprise. Or bring in someone to help develop their recipes and/or how they're described in the on-line menu. Customers need to know and trust the menu describes what they're going to be served.
Though the space is really great and has so much potential, I've never been so disappointed in a meal.Pros: organic, local food, Good setting, conducive to conversations, Friendly owner
Cons: Entree did not match menu, very slow, at times inattentive service, Difficult to reach in advance; bad email