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Gourmet Hype vs Reality: Brentwood’s Farmshop and Barney’s Gourmet Burgers

On a breezy afternoon in Brentwood, we sought refuge within the labyrinth of the Brentwood Country Mart. An institution since 1948, it’s a compendium of organic eateries, handpicked brands, and niche services. Our destination was Farmshop, an artisanal marvel touting locally sourced, California-inspired fare, wrapped in a chic rustic veneer.


As we stepped into Farmshop’s airy, light-filled space, we were greeted by a chorus of soft chatter, clinking glassware, and the enticing scent of fresh-baked bread. We set our expectations high, hoping to partake in a culinary experience worth scribing in our gastronomic memoirs.


The menu boasted an array of eclectic dishes, each singing praises of locally-sourced produce and artisan craftsmanship. Our first choice was the yellow tomato gazpacho - a nod to summertime. It was like sipping a pastoral still life painting; not bad, but not setting our souls on fire either.


Under the spell of a delectable chicken salad, expertly presented in the deli counter, our minds were filled with visions of succulent chicken salad sandwiches, a beloved American comfort food, carrying us back to days of sun-dappled picnics and familiar school lunches. However, our gastronomic dream was abruptly shattered when we discovered that the ‘Chicken Salad’ on the menu was not the anticipated sandwich, but a common green salad embellished with chicken. The crisp lettuce and passable dressing lost their allure, overshadowed by the absence of our envisioned sandwich. The palpable disappointment left an indelible mark that not even the freshest of greens could erase. Disillusioned, we requested the check, declining to partake in the salad masquerading as our beloved sandwich.


Leaving Farmshop, we found ourselves at the steps of Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers, the siren call of a succulent burger reverberating in our hearts. We opted for the Turkey Chipotle burger, a tower of meat, cheese, and an overzealous amount of sautéed mushrooms. A dish that would require a python’s jaw to consume in its entirety, we were forced to deconstruct the culinary monolith.


The fries were, sadly, forgettable – mere shadows in the overwhelming presence of the overfilled burger. The burger itself was decent, a humble performer on the gastronomic stage, but far from the curtain-calling encore delivered by the likes of Goldburger.


As we closed the chapter on this hybrid gastronomic adventure, we scored it a generous 2 out of 5 forks. The experience, while not unbearable, was one of unfulfilled potential and unmet expectations. The question now remains - would we return? Perhaps, if under duress or lured by a celebrity lunch date, but with the caveat that someone else foots the bill.





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