Review: Ambitious menu but spotty execution at Farmer’s Daughter on Dupont

Review: Ambitious menu but spotty execution at Farmer’s Daughter on Dupont

(Image: Caroline Aksich)
Farmer's Daughter (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Farmer’s Daughter ★½
1588 Dupont St., 416-546-0626

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Darcy MacDonell, the owner of the queue-drawing Farmhouse Tavern, has opened a low-budget room across the street to catch the overflow. The menu, created by Léonie Lilla, who previously worked at Daisho, delivers artfully composed ­seafood dishes that often sound more interesting than they taste. Cold steamed clams come on mixed greens topped with a tiny scoop of mustard ice cream and freshly fried potato chips; the textures contrast nicely, but the dressing needs both tang and salt, and the clams are gritty. Hearty chunks of chilled, herb-poached octopus arrive on a salty swatch of squid ink paste. Sprinkled with crisp pancetta and fried sunchoke chips (house-made chips are a signature garnish), it’s a better-balanced dish but still needs a hit of acid. Like the food, the ­cocktails are creative (beef fat–infused bourbon) but don’t always deliver on their promise. A bumpy beginning, but we’re optimistic the spotty execution will catch up with the menu’s admirable ambition.