Review: Ambitious menu but spotty execution at Farmer’s Daughter on Dupont
Farmer’s Daughter ★½
1588 Dupont St., 416-546-0626
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.