Farmerie 58 is a little bit of a mystery. It came out of nowhere, and within two weeks of its announcement they had the doors open and the Trib’s Monica Eng in the dining room eating under-heated food. As with all buzzy restaurants, the MenuPages user reviews started coming in, and as with all user reviews we read through every single one and decide which get posted (most of them), and which are shills. And it’s usually pretty easy to tell one from the other.
So, pop quiz: Is this review for Farmerie 58 a shill?
My boyfriend took me here for a casual date and it was fantastic! First off, I loved the warm atmosphere everyone from the hostesses to the sushi chefs smiled and greeted us as we came in, no snobbery anywhere. The upstairs dining room was real cute- we got a great view of outside at our window table. The menu was really impressive, i was delighted to see such a unique approach to your typical american food. I got the salmon- and it was perfectly cooked over risotto, it was absolutely amazing. My boyfriend go the black cod which he said was fantastic. We couldn’t stop talking about how f***ing good the food was! Farmerie 58 spiced up the casual date night thing and was a breath of fresh air (skip the chains and expensive steak houses with no character.) Loved it. Cant wait to go back and try out the rest of the menu!
In the “Yes, duh, it is obviously a shill” corner, we have:
• An overabundance of detail: It’s not just a date, it’s a casual date. They mention the sushi chefs, the window views, the “lack of snobbery” (which shouldn’t really factor in when it comes to a restaurant with this price point/absence of hipster pretentiousness).
• Too much general-issue praise: “a unique approach to your typical american food” and “a breath of fresh air” — Really? What’s so unique here? While the Farmerie menu looks nice, it doesn’t exactly drop our jaws with its novelty, and its competition extends beyond chains and steakhouses — in fact, its haute-farm atmosphere is much more closely aligned with the rest of the current buzzcrop.
• A promise to return — to try the rest of the menu? No one says that. No one.
But wait — there’s still the “Actually, hang on here, this could be legit” corner:
• We’ve spoken directly to a number of people involved with this restaurant. And those people know that we write this blog and vet these user reviews. So, presumably no PR person or GM is really so stupid as to try to pull something like this, are they? Please?
• Use of the f-bomb (there were no asterisks in the original review, we edit for family-friendliness), which is a serious deviation from the standard shill protocol.
We’re a generous kind of review-vetter, is the thing, and we set ourself a criminal-court-worthy shillwatch standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” So the review is up on our site, since the pottymouth really threw us for a loop. But we do remain quite a bit skeptical.
Shill-o-Meter rating (on a scale of 1 [innocent] to 10 [guilty as the damned]): 8.5.