Restaurant Review – The Farm and Fisherman Tavern, Cherry Hill, NJ

The Farm and Fisherman Tavern advertises several seafood dishes on its menu. I ordered the Reuben. I knew an unforgettable evening awaited me. With entrees to choose from I opted for a lunch sandwich. Not that this establishment had an extensive variety of options. Based on all my server’s tattoos, I read more ink on her than on the menu. That’s not good.

Speaking of the service, I observed opportunities for improvement. For one I didn’t receive what I ordered. I requested the Minestrone Soup for an appetizer. As I’m writing this a day later I’m still waiting for it. It made me wonder: do I look fat? Granted, I have put on a few pounds over the winter months. That’s no excuse not to serve a paying customer what he requested.

One of my fans recently asked me to “go easy” with my review of this establishment. Regrettably, this is the kind version of my observations. Since I promised to be more positive, I shall honor my commitment. Let me say that the Farm and Fisherman Tavern saved me $7.00 on soup.

On the subject of appetizers, the ones at this establishment were anything but. I sampled the Calamari. For those who’d like to save themselves a trip to Cherry Hill I’ll describe it. It reminded me of drinking Tequilla. I felt like I chugged a mouthful of vinegar and then chased it with a few pieces of shrimp.

And then I split an order of the Caramelized Cauliflower with someone. To be fair, I eat cauliflower from time to time. Prior to trying this appetizer I knew their flavor doesn’t explode in one’s mouth. They’re the leafy equivalent of mushrooms. I get that. I figured that the special sauce would enhance and add more zest. It didn’t. Why not? Upon reviewing the menu more closely, they described the sauce as a “curried mushroom cream.” What a great idea. Take something that has no flavor and douse it in a sauce made from something else that has no flavor.

I’ve brought up the ridiculously high price of vegetables in previous columns. To spare readers another harangue I’ll limit my observations to this. The $8.00s the management gouges customers for this is almost as tasteless as the appetizer.

In spite of these set-backs I decided to stick it out and stay for “dinner”. When they served my meal ($12.00), one gentleman in my group observed, “That’s an interesting looking Reuben.” That’s about the only word in the English language that adequately described it. Imagine throwing a salad in the middle of a garden. That’s how my plate appeared. I would’ve taken a picture, but people may have thought I staged it. I saw it in real time and I’m still struggling to wrap my head around it. I had the option of French fries or salad as a side dish. I never would’ve thought they’d bury the sandwich in the salad.

And there’s more. I don’t know what process they use to slaughter turkeys for human consumption. The one I had must’ve died from dehydration. I’ve never tasted anything this desiccated. Did I mention the Reuben didn’t come with Russian Dressing? The presentation on the plate confused me so much I accidentally put my salad dressing on the sandwich. You know what? It still tasted really dry.

I’d had enough at this point. I passed on desert. Not that it would’ve mattered, anyway. They billed one of the items as a “Bacon Ice Cream.” (Before people send me e-mails: I know. I’ve never seen those words arranged in that combination, either.) This establishment was just bursting with great ideas. Why not take a breakfast food and turn it into a desert? What’s next? Scrapple Sherbert, anyone?

So far 2015 is turning into a rebuilding year for fine dining. My dog, Cinnamon, shares my displeasure. Whenever my dad and stepmom return from eating out, they give her their leftovers. I’ve seen Cinnamon walk away from “fine cuisine” in favor of her chew stick. My birthday’s coming up in a few weeks. People ask me where I’d like to go out to dinner for it. With some of the places I’ve been to lately, I’ll take one of the dog’s left over chew sticks.

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