My review of The Herbfarm ran in today's Seattle P-I, a piece I spent days agonizing about. Not to mention the roughly 15 hours of dine time during three nine-course meals.
It's no picnic to criticize a beloved icon, but it's my responsibility to report honestly about my experience. And in a pretty limited space, considering all the food I tried. I didn't even get to go into the quirks of the place, the incessant merchandising and self-promotion, the arrogance of calling Foraged and Found's Jeremy Faber the house forager (when he supplies to restaurants throughout the region) and the curious absence of the guitarist for a long stretch at the beginning of one dinner service.
Then, there was the utter lack of personal connection. Though I went to dinner three times in three months, there was never a glimmer of recognition for a returning guest. Not a critic, because I make reservations under another name, but just a "welcome back", "nice to see you again." Time and again, when I saw guests try to interact with the owner, they were given a smart-aleck response -- Carrie Van Dyck asked if I was mad at her when I furrowed my brow as she set a plate in front of me... say what!!?? -- or virtually ignored. A woman who was celebrating her anniversary lavished compliments and all she got in return from Ron Zimmerman was a strained smile.
I was -- I still am -- prepared for an avalanche of blow back on this controversial review. But so far, I've only heard agreement. Anyone care to share their Herbfarm experience?