While all of us were arguing about brunch—whether it was breakfast, whether it was lunch, whether it was just silly—brunch solidified into an institution. Sure, it’s fun to bicker over the semantics, but brunch just doesn’t care. The Farm on Adderly, in the south Brooklyn neighborhood of Ditmas Park, is brunch ground zero, especially at twelve noon on a lazy August Sunday.
You can spot Farm from blocks away; it’s the place with the crowd of people waiting in front of it, in groups of three and four. The good news, the hack, is that if you’re eating at the bar, flying solo, you can just squeeze in past the hungry queuers looking at the time and trundle your butt upon one of the ten seats surrounding the L-shaped bar in the front of the restaurant, before the nicely appointed dining rooms and backyard space. (This could also be attempted by a party of two?) A menu and a glass of water appear when you’re not looking, and you have achieved brunch in no time flat.
Are the stools a bit precarious? This is a restaurant, not a bar. They are sturdy and backless, square seats of either reclaimed or reclaimed-lookin’ wood. Empty, they fit together like tiles, three perpendicular to the window facing the street and seven down the length (which forms the chute for waiting patrons). There are hooks under the bar for your bag/purse, but you may teeter or totter a bit, perched way up there. Did a patron nearly topple a stool all the way to the floor in an attempted dismount during my visit? Perhaps. But the teeming scrum, directly behind you, next to the podium of the maitre d’, is a reminder that whatever jostling/vertigo you experience is a small price to pay for the drastic reduction of your waiting-to-brunching ratio.
Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” is playing—the extended version from the album—but here comes the menu, which is easy to fall into, never to return. The burger is well-regarded, mostly for the french fries and house-made mustard, and rightfully so. The standard array of egg-based stalwarts, like your red flannel hash, like your egg sammy, are also present and accounted for. My weakness is the chicken schnitzel, a brunch-only item: pounded and breaded fried cutlets, on top of a watercress and anchovy pillow, covered by a sunnyside egg and a few scrapes of Pecorino Romano. The schnitzel is my new jam.
And now “Africa,” by Toto! This short afternoon visit features many such songs to which a goodly number of the staff were possibly conceived. The room is ur-Brooklyn, historical photos under the two shelves of boutique and small-barrel liquors, all authentic, from the time before authentic was trite. Farm on Adderly is only a year or two from its tenth anniversary, and it was one of the first to bring the haute barnyard thing that would eventually come to define Brooklyn; Farm’s owners and former employees have spawned newer establishments that cover Cortelyou Road like moss. The vibe is more effect than affected.
The service at the bar is alacritous. The schnitzel arrives at the bar so soon after ordering that it startles me. But it is warm and good and go ahead and fold the newspaper up because this is not picking-at food. This is digging-in food, and just as fast as it was plated, it is unplated and ready to be bussed.
It can be a bit of a tight seat during the maelstrom that is brunch. Diners glower behind you, occasionally jabbing you with an elbow, and heaven forfend a stroller should attempt to ford the bottleneck. Farm is popular. Not just with the relocated Xers decamped to Ditmas Park as a place to ease into middle age, but also with tourists: the Manhattan bridge-and-tunnellers gawping at the outer-borough, the out-of-town moms and dads toted along by the grown-up children they’re visiting, the curious foodie checking another resto off the list. And the bar can get shoulder-to-shoulder, but more often than not it’s just someone in line taking a load off, or ordering a bloody. Blink and look back up, and it’s just you and one other diner, her nose in her iPhone, just like you.
The Farm on Adderly’s Bar Dining Basics:
Number of stools: 10
Bar Stool Comfort: Precarious but not uncomfy. No backrests.
Hooks Under Bar? Yes
Bartenders: Professionally attentive, ninja-like.
The Farm on Adderly
1108 Cortelyou Road
(between Stratford and Westminster)
Ditmas Park, Brooklyn