Most Ambitious

January 10, 2013

Farmers Fishers Bakers’ chicken tacos are served in a shell made from field corn.

If the D.C. branch of Founding Farmers (1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-822-8783) were personified, I think it would be the most popular kid in school (trendy, cool, but not always reliable). That would make Founding Farmers’ sprawling new sister spot, Farmers Fishers Bakers (3000 K St. NW; 202-298-8783), the overachiever.

FFB, which opened in November, wants to fulfill your every dining need, be it pizza, jambalaya, sushi or tiki cocktails. Just this week, FFB introduced a coffee-and-breakfast pastries menu from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday (self-service only).

The sheer size of the menu overwhelms me, but I’ve managed to focus on one section so far: tacos. Unlike most tacos sold locally, FFB’s can be ordered with a puffy shell made from field corn (a different variety than what’s eaten on the cob). It’s a type of shell served in parts of Mexico and the southwestern U.S., chef Joe Goetze says. To make them, chefs shuck, soak, boil and grind field corn, then shape and deep-fry each shell individually.

The result is a sturdy receptacle with a thicker, crispier texture than most. It pairs well with the many fillings available at FFB, including my favorite, the juicy, salsa-marinated chicken topped with queso cotija, cilantro and onions ($10).

I doubt FFB can be everything to everyone (not all prom queens are valedictorians, right?). Yet, I’m surprisingly convinced that FFB can hold its own as a taco destination.

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