Farmer's Table - La Mesa

I had lunch today at the new Farmer’s Table in La Mesa. It’s in the old San Fillipo’s spot and boy has it been renovated!!

On the corner is an indoor/outdoor bar that I’m guessing will be heavily used during the warmer Spring months and definitely the summer.

The inside is kind of farmer kitsch but it works. If you look at the wall of old wooden produce boxes you’re bound to find the ones with Stehly’s on them. The light fixtures are fantastic, do not forget to look up. What isn’t so fantastic is the noise level…lots of hard surfaces and not a lot to absorb the sound. The bar and the outside, sidewalk terrace appeared to be quieter

The place was PACKED for lunch on a Monday, we had nearly a 30 minute wait for a table. Now, whether the wait was because the place is brand spankin’ new or because today was a holiday, is unknown but time will provide the answer.

The brunch menu, which is served from 8 am - 3 pm is heavy on egg dishes and agumented with the usual pancakes and french toast along with a short selection of salads, sandwiches and flatbreads, which realistically, could probably more accurately be called pizza.

2 of us had the chicken pecan salad and were pleased with it. Our 3rd dining companion had the farmers salad and was less satisfied. The farmer’s salad was basically an arugula salad with some add-ins and fruit with a balsamic dressing. She felt they were a little heavy handed with the balsamic and the melon in the salad was not ripe. The pecan chicken salad was mixed greens with candied pecans, blue cheese, grape tomatoes and came with a pecan encrusted chicken breast on top. I thought it was good and enjoyed it.

For only being open a couple of weeks service was decent. There were a few problems, they tried to deliver another table’s order to us and when our order came one of the salads was wrong. It was all handled discreetly and professionally. The wait staff was slammed, no doubt about it, I think they did well. The kitchen at the back is open and I had a great view into it. The pantry station (i.e. salads and cold prep) was being worked by 1 guy and he was moving. There was plenty of staff and dishes were coming out of the kitchen with good regularity.

I know a couple salads doesn’t necessarily show off the kitchen’s abilities or flaws…but La Mesa doesn’t have anything like this farm-to-table restaurant and the salads and the dishes I saw going past my table were good enough for me to want to return to explore more of the menu.

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I heard this place is very much like Farmer’s Bottega in Mission Hills.

Yes, very similar, same owner

Farmer’s Bottega is a great spot to get a big breakfast, and I like the ambience. When I want a late breakfast/lunch, it’s one of the few places I think of. I probably won’t trek out to Farmer’s Table in La Mesa, since you say it’s very similar and under the same ownership, but I’m not surprised that it’s a hit there.

I actually like the ambiance better at the La Mesa venue, but I agree, that would be a long trek for you.

I’m really looking forward to their bar arrangement during the summer when it’s warm. It would be a great place to hang out on a weekend

Does anybody know if they have a Champagne brunch on Sunday? I was looking at the photos of Farmer’s Table over on Yelp and I spotted a photo of a bottle of Wycliff in an ice bucket, and as everyone who has been to more than one Sunday champagne brunch, Wycliff is the go to pour.

Here you go…the menu and yes they have champagne

Thanks, I was trying to read the menu off the yelp photos and the photo quality was a bit iffy.

Thanks DD for the report…
Chicken pecan salad sounds good…was it only breast meat?
I’m weird about chicken dark meat or other chicken parts that somehow always seem to make it in my ‘chicken breast only’ entree’s.
Once I find that grissle or :chicken: grossness, I freak and can’t eat anymore…

Well P, that just happens to be the salad I had and yes, it was all breast meat

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Thanks DD for your breast meat report back…:tongue:

One and done. Had dinner at Farmer’s Table last night and will not be going back. I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but I need to vent because $150+ is waaaay too much money to spend on cruddy service.

I made reservations for two one week in advance. Upon arrival, (on a Tuesday night) we were offered a microscopic two top, located about 3 feet from the hostess stand, and about two feet from the bar, actually IN the bar area. Since we made reservations for dinner, not the bar, we politely declined. The next offer was a “high top” style table, with high bar stools. Um, no. My husband said, “well, I’d like a normal chair I can lean back in, so I can enjoy my dinner.” The 3rd offering was a seat at a very large, communal, banquette, which came with the hostess’ caveat that other couples might be seated with us later in the night. No, thank you.

We spied one of the four tops located in the middle of the dining room, albeit directly next to the bathroom, and asked for one of those. We were accommodated. I know I am sounding like an old biddy, but good lord, this was the best table available, and I caught a full view of the bathroom every time a person walked in there.

Then the service…sigh. We ordered drinks. The young waiter served my husband’s drink first. I guess “ladies first” is out the window these days. Our carpaccio appetizer was delayed at least 30 minutes (for an uncooked app, this was hilarious) and served without extra plates. In all fairness, the manager stopped by our table and apologized for the delay.

Our entrees were served by a food runner, who approached our table, and then auctioned it. Good god. I KNOW for a fact there are systems a restaurant can use so food runners can serve the correct entree to the correct diner. He set the plates down, then said, “Oh I am going to bring you fresh silverware because I think that’s proper.” He cleared the dirty silverware left from our appetizer course, left the table, and returned a few moments later with new silverware. It was…so awkward. We were sitting there with food, and no silverware.

We had ordered wine to be served with our dinner, (back when we ordered our dinner), though it didn’t arrive till we were halfway our entrees. The waiter served it by pre-setting empty glasses, and then he poured the wine into the glass from a small carafe. He made a big deal of holding the carafe very high above the glass, and I couldn’t help but think, if that red wine splashes on my dress…

Dessert was served without a problem. It tasted fine. The food was fine overall, though not anything to write home about. The cost was over the $150 mark, so no thank you to a return trip. I’ve had better service and more comfortable tables at Studio Diner.

Yikes, not good.

And you’re right…for $150 in La Mesa with bad service, I wouldn’t go back either

I REALLY wanted it to be good, but lordy the service just killed it for me. My husband commented they appear to be confused about their identity. On one hand they are a casual, pizza-pasta-salad joint, but some of their entrees reach north of $25, which ups the expectation ante.

You know, that’s an interesting point. This is basically an East County knock off of their Mission Hills location. Did they “dumb down” the menu for La Mesa? Or is it that they want to project the Farm-to-Table image without having to actually “be” a true Farm-to-Table restaurant. Don’t forget to factor in the renovation costs.

The 2 times I went service was okay. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad and it was definitely better than what you experienced, especially the seating incident. My issue with this place is the sheer volume of noise. On neither visit could my tablemates and I carry on a conversation without having to lean in and shout. Call me old-fashioned but when dining out I like to be able to have a normal convo.

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Hear hear.

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