Taste Test: Our First Impression of the New Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Farmer’s Keep

In short: It’s the Whole Foods salad bar of fast, casual restaurants.

farmer's keep
Rittenhouse’s newest restaurant addition, Farmer’s Keep, is kind of like the fast, casual restaurant version of a Whole Foods salad bar: The menu offerings are all over the place (On my plate, I had scoops of eggplant caponata, soy rice noodles, quinoa tabbouleh, Greek salad with tofu, and much more), they aim to use local and seasonal ingredients, and you are charged by the pound. And like Whole Foods, it’s easy to fork over way more money than you thought you would. To wit: I walked away with what was, I’ll admit, a pretty full plate, that weighed 1.8 pounds and cost me $20. 

The allergy-friendly, completely gluten- and dairy-free spot, which just opened today, is set up so that you pick the proteins, salads, sides, and veggies you want on your plate as a server scoops them for you, cafeteria-style. I opted for all of the items I mentioned above, plus hummus, balsamic roasted mushrooms, green goddess salad, roasted cauliflower, and a root vegetable salad.

So, how did this mountain of salad on salad on salad taste? Well, the dressing on the Greek salad was super tasty, I wish I’d gotten more of the soy rice noodles (they were probably my favorite item), and the flavor of the quinoa tabbouleh was good, but the dish was ice cold which was somewhat off-putting. The hummus was hummus — nothing Dizengoff-level, but good nonetheless, and the cauliflower was cooked nicely. The roasted mushrooms were awesome; they weren’t drowned in balsamic like balsamic roasted mushroom often are, but they were still loaded with flavor.

Everything on my plate — and in the restaurant, in fact — was egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and shellfish-free. As a rule, all of their menu items are always free of these allergens. So if you’re going to lunch with someone who has a long list of food restrictions, this, my friend, is the place to take ‘em.

One thing I wish they offered more of is vegetarian protein options; they had about four meat options, but the only vegetarian protein was hummus. But, all in all, I enjoyed my lunch, and in case you’re wondering, no: I didn’t get through all $20 worth of veggies. So if you go yourself, just make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach.

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