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Tail Up Goat, Chef Jon Sybert, Beverage Director Bill Jensen, and Service Director Jill Tyler All Come from the Komi Team - Adams Morgan


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Tail Up Goat opened tonight in Adams Morgan.  As you can read here, it comes from folks associated with the Komi empire.

It is at 1827 Adams Mill - where Lanier, Adams Mill, Calvert and Columbia all meet, on the Lanier side of the fancy new apartment building.

I am not as expert as many here, but I think that (if the location is not a killer) you will be hearing much about this restaurant.  Take, for instance, the "brown rice bread, fermented turnips, crème fraí®che" ($9) - sounds like remorseful punitive food, right? - but it is really darn delicious and not at all remorseful.  Everything I ate was similarly multi-faceted - very complicated and good flavors.  The bar staff was warm and friendly.  Everyone involved has clearly put an enormous amount of thought and heart into the food and into the beverages.

Check it out!

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My husband and I were excited to try Tail Up Goat last week, for the first time. We had pretty high expectations given the hype, plus it takes a lot for us to venture up to Adams Morgan from Alexandri

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We went to the soft open (full disclosure: food was comped).  The place has huge potential.  The space is gorgeous.  The service is great, save a few hiccups that are to be expected on day -1 of a new restaurant.  And the food was generally delicious and interesting.  I'll post a more detailed review once I've eaten there again.

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We were blessed to be at the soft opening as well (same disclosure), and were very impressed -- and so happy to see Bill again after missing him at Komi New Year's eve. We enjoyed everything: rabbit sausage, charred chocolate rye with salt-crusted sardines, stracciatella, cavatelli, whole stuffed porgy, and a couple of yummy desserts -- the last the only item I thought to get a picture of. We shared each course, and ended stuffed. Menu is here.

We'll be back soon!

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wandered in and snagged some bar seats; fortunately, you can eat at the bar. We ended up with crispy salt cod, grilled rabbit sausage, grilled quail, maltagliati, and the smoked hen of the woods. The quail took the gold star but it was all amazingly delicious. Was nice to see the place packed, and I didn't really notice any opening-week bobbles-- service was pleasant and smooth and there were happy faces everywhere. I am so happy they are in the neighborhood.

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Word to the wise:  Go now.  Within a month, it's gonna be impossible to get in.  It's running on all cylinders on day three . . . and, I'm sure, on day one, too, per Sam's report.  Maltagliati was scrumptious; and the almond cake was the best dessert I've had in ages.  Feels as if it's been a neighborhood institution for years.  And that's because Jon, Jill and Bill, and their great, carefully chosen staff, have been working really hard, for a really long time, to get up to speed.  They love what they're doing; they love making their customers happy; and it shows.  Possibly as welcoming as Komi and Little Serow--like those spots, from which they came, you know you're in good and welcoming hands as soon as you walk in.  Wish I could afford to go every night, or that, when I am there, that I could afford to always order the Selbach-Oster Spätlese they're offering at $18/glass, which Bill modestly describes as "The Greatest (White Wine on Earth)."  Thank god it's impossible to find a parking space (I circled for 20 minutes on a quiet Thursday), or else it'd be as hard a table to snag as Bad Saint--and it's about five times as large.

Oh, and the bread?  (I bought a brown rice loaf that we've been savoring all day.)  Better than Bread Furst, that's all.

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Word to the wise:  Go now.  Within a month, it's gonna be impossible to get in.  It's running on all cylinders on day three . . . and, I'm sure, on day one, too, per Sam's report.  Maltagliati was scrumptious; and the almond cake was the best dessert I've had in ages.  Feels as if it's been a neighborhood institution for years.  And that's because Jon, Jill and Bill, and their great, carefully chosen staff, have been working really hard, for a really long time, to get up to speed.  They love what they're doing; they love making their customers happy; and it shows.  Possibly as welcoming as Komi and Little Serow--like those spots, from which they came, you know you're in good and welcoming hands as soon as you walk in.  Wish I could afford to go every night, or that, when I am there, that I could afford to always order the Selbach-Oster Spätlese they're offering at $18/glass, which Bill modestly describes as "The Greatest (White Wine on Earth)."  Thank god it's impossible to find a parking space (I circled for 20 minutes on a quiet Thursday), or else it'd be as hard a table to snag as Bad Saint--and it's about five times as large.

Oh, and the bread?  (I bought a brown rice loaf that we've been savoring all day.)  Better than Bread Furst, that's all.

Having heard who's behind it, and what it is, I initialized coverage of Tail Up Goat, in the blind, in Italic, and, tentatively ranked them as the #1 restaurant in Adams Morgan.

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Ordinarily, I wouldn't want you to take my word--or even mine and Sam's word--for it, Don.  But in this case, with all deference to Mintwood and Donburi, I think your newly christened #1 is a very, very safe bet:  that's not a very high bar to meet, especially now that Cedric is devoting his efforts to Convivial.

Having heard who's behind it, and what it is, I initialized coverage of Tail Up Goat, in the blind, in Italic, and, tentatively ranked them as the #1 restaurant in Adams Morgan.

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Having heard who's behind it, and what it is, I initialized coverage of Tail Up Goat, in the blind, in Italic, and, tentatively ranked them as the #1 restaurant in Adams Morgan.

I wouldn't quibble with that.

Also-- leaving aside the wonderful food, and the fantastic service, and the really spectacular dining room-- there are quotes from Finnegan's Wake in the menu. It's like they want me there every week.

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Is there a substantive review that I missed? Why did people get camped food? This bothers me that people say they got comped food but don't say why, yet offer non substantive reviews.

??? The only people I saw that said their food was comped also stated that they were there for the soft opening (where food is often comped).

I'm eager to check this place out based on early reviews. I think we may regret our decision not to go this Saturday to give them time to work out kinks when next month we can't snag a reservation. :P

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Is there a substantive review that I missed? Why did people get camped food? This bothers me that people say they got comped food but don't say why, yet offer non substantive reviews.

I paid for my food, on real-opening night, which gave rise to my first post.  Then I went back two days later and paid for another meal.  I have every reason to believe that Marty L paid for his meal as well.  If you are saying that my post and his were not "substantive" then I am not sure what you mean.

In any event, every dish I have had at this place has been stellar.  I am not just talking about "good ingredients well cooked," but inventive and complex while still focusing primarily on taste rather than cleverness.  And the service is equally good.

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My question is, why are certain people invited to the soft opening? Did they just walk in by chance? By non-substantive reviews, I mean I haven't seen anyone discuss any single dish. Such and such is delicious is not a substantive review.

I looked at their menu and website. It's not a long menu, and it's not readily apparent what makes the items inventive or delicious. I guess I would love to see some in depth discussion.

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My question is, why are certain people invited to the soft opening? Did they just walk in by chance? By non-substantive reviews, I mean I haven't seen anyone discuss any single dish. Such and such is delicious is not a substantive review.

I looked at their menu and website. It's not a long menu, and it's not readily apparent what makes the items inventive or delicious. I guess I would love to see some in depth discussion.

This is a perfectly reasonable question, given that there have been meals enjoyed at Tail Up Goat. There are three stages of opening to the public:

1) Friends and Family - It means just what it's called, and there's a "gentlemen's agreement" that diners will not report on their experiences - sure to be flawed - on the internet, and are to answer a questionnaire about the meal  (the first time I've ever seen the instructions not to write anything on the internet - explicitly stated on the questionnaire - was at the opening of Proof). This is often the "price" of having been invited to "Friends and Family" opening, and the meals are complimentary. The diner has a moral responsibility to help the restaurant, and not to say a word on the internet (although I've never seen anyone complain about a positive comment!)

2) Soft Openings - These are one step closer to Grand Openings - anyone can walk in; there's just no advertising that they're open. And in those situations, people either pay full price, or get a token, 10%-ish discount ("for the first month we're open," etc.) - Soft Openings, rather than Friends and Family meals, are more "game" for internet reviews, as very little if anything has been given away. However, my opinion is that the writer has a responsibility to disclose that the restaurant isn't formally open yet, and that it's still in the "Soft Opening" stage. People find out about these by word of mouth, or- if they know someone working at the restaurant - by invitation.

3) Grand Openings - A regular old opening, announced to the world by PR reps, announced by major media, etc. This is the first day that a restaurant is "officially open for business."

Anyone who has been to 2) or 3) is perfectly welcome to write about their meals, depending on their own comfort level, available time, etc. I'm personally not a fan of "rushed reviews" - it can be interesting to see pictures of a place, and a copy of the menu, but early reviews don't mean a whole lot unless the restaurant is run by seasoned professionals who have participated in other openings. Nobody's obligated to write anything, but they can if they want.

I've been to a new restaurant with insanely high expectations five times just this year (six, if you include the one time I showed up the evening of the ice storm, and the door was locked  :angry:), and could write a review that's so detailed that no others would be necessary - it would be the first out of the gate, and would get me lots of attention. I don't care enough about any types of accolades to write it this early, I have other writing obligations to complete first (RK, it's coming, I promise!), and good restaurant reviews take time (and, for me, are mentally taxing). When I asked the owner if he'd like me to write an extended review, his response was that he'd like for us to take that time, and come back in to enjoy another meal. I'm *going* to write a review at some point, but I have a lot going on in my life right now, and I'd rather write nothing than write poorly.

Writing little teasing comments are of little value, but they take hardly any time either, and they at least convey *some* information - does anybody care *that much* if someone's braised collards were flecked with red pepper flakes, and contained a small amount of golden raisins, etc.?

Eric, the substantive reviews will come; it's just a matter of when. I don't want writing reviews to be an unnecessary stressor for our members, and if someone only wants to write for a couple of minutes, I'd rather see, "This place was fantastic, and has the potential to be an important restaurant" than nothing at all. I, too, am looking forward to lengthier essays about Tail Up Goat, and they'll arrive in due course.

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Tail Up Goat, where filling up on bread is a good thing, a very tasty delicious good thing.

Impressive first meal tonight, with the restaurant barely two weeks old. The bar and dining room pretty much full from our 7 pm arrival to our 8:30 departure. The operation is already running smoothly, no doubt years of Komi training in action. The opening dishes are sophisticated and these guy are doing it with winter produce: turnips, rutabega, and other root vegetables star on the menu. It will be interesting to see what they do with summer's bounty.

As I suppose is trendy these days the menu features a lot of pickling and charring to build flavors. Most dishes on the menu only list 3 or 4 components, but there are a lot of hidden rich layered flavors going on.

Sadly, the only clanger was the opening taste, a shot glass of celery shrub. Even the waitress admitted people either love it or hate it. I've never met a shrub I loved, nor liked.

Salt cod came as five marble sized fried croquettes, with a cauliflower puree and pickled red onion. A perfect lick your plate clean starter.

The bread courses are toasted on the grill slabs with various toppings We ended up going with the trifecta, the winner being brown rice bread with turnips, mint and creme fraiche. Show goes to the seaweed sourdough, topped with ciccioli, sort of a fatty pork paste and pickled fennel. The charred chocolate rye placed due to execution, the salt baked whole sardine come on a seperate plate on top of a base of salt crust. The idea is to make your own open faced sandwich with the butter and pickles but the concept falls flat. However the sardine is excellent and this dish just needs to be re-thought.

The braised carrots was the weakest dish of the night, served with sticky garlic and a homeycomb broth. The carrots could have been braised several minutes longer and lacked flavor. The dish needed some acid to counter the sweetness of the honeycomb. At $13 not worth the calories.

The pasta course of smoked rutabega ravioli with gingerbread and basil mint pesto was outstanding.

We skipped the entree section, with the only pescatarian friendly option being the whole roasted porgy for two at $35. Overall the portion sizes fall into the medium plate range, and people with healthy appetites will ring up a sizable bill quickly. Dinner for two, sharing 6 dishes, plus 2 cocktails came to $125 with tax and tip.

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The braised carrots was the weakest dish of the night, served with sticky garlic and a homeycomb broth. The carrots could have been braised several minutes longer and lacked flavor. The dish needed some acid to counter the sweetness of the honeycomb. At $13 not worth the calories.

We skipped the entree section, with the only pescatarian friendly option being the whole roasted porgy for two at $35. Overall the portion sizes fall into the medium plate range, and people with healthy appetites will ring up a sizable bill quickly. Dinner for two, sharing 6 dishes, plus 2 cocktails came to $125 with tax and tip.

Agree on the carrots.  FYI, the porgy is great.  And for another pescatarian option, the mushroom entree can be done without the chicken skins.

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What a great meal we had on Tuesday!  Everything was wonderful, with some real standouts.

Service was warm, friendly, and efficient.  We loved the complementary shrub they give you to start off the meal, and appreciated the offer of carbonated tap water for free.  My friends had never tried orange wine before, so I asked about the ones on the extensive list and the sommelier came over to explain them.  He was a young, energetic guy who was a delight to talk to. He steered us toward a wine made by Cisturcian nuns in Lazio that was off list (and happily close to the bottom of the price scale) - Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium Ruscum 2013, which we enjoyed.  Even better, mid meal he came by with a different bottle from the same makers (less time on the skins) and poured the three of us generous tastes so we could experience the differences between the two bottles.  Classy, and it really made us feel like we were among friends, not in a service environment.

We ordered:

The brown rice flatbread discussed above:  Really delicious, transcends the ingredients to be more than the sum of its parts.

The sunchokes with bottarga:  Fine, but not spectacular.  I've had better.  Some were not roasted enough and were still hard.  The least interesting dish of the night.

The rutabaga ravioli with gingerbread:  WOW.  I could eat 5 more plates of these.  One of the most interesting, delicious things I have eaten this year and truly spectacular.  Unexpected flavors that just work.

The stuffed Porgy:  A whole deboned porgy, stuffed with kale, served with potatoes, parnip "cream" and some roasted vegetables.  Also very, very good.  Moist, perfectly deboned/prepared.

We finished with the almond cake and the butterscotch budino.  Both were good, but I would have preferred the budino without the candied fruit that was in it.

For three of us, this was a perfect amount of food.  And, at about $70 each for bill, tax, and tip, it seemed to be a very good deal.  I am happy I live near this place!

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Dinner for two last night. We had:

  • charred chocolate rye, salt-crusted sardine, butter, pickles [14]
  • sunchokes, bagna cauda, parsley  [12]
  • maltagliati, fermented honey sausage, pea shoots [17] 
  • lamb ribs, sumac onions, beets "“ for two [42]
  • butterscotch budino, blood orange, candied pistachios [9]

We thought the first three dishes were excellent. My wife concurred with the post above about the assemble-it-yourself nature of the chocolate rye bread dish, but the ingredients were so good and the sardine so funky that I really didn't care. The sunchokes were roasted to perfection. The maltagliati was a nice change-up from the charred chocolate rye, having a nice savory cream sauce that had absorbed the sweetness of the pea shoots.

Our first bites of the lamb ribs were delicious. Great Mediterranean flavors in play. But as we ate it, there seemed to be a lot of fatty chunks still in the ribs. Perhaps that's just the nature of lamb ribs, but I would have liked these more, and felt better afterwards, if the ribs had been cooked a bit lower and slower.

The butterscotch budino? Meh. It was on the small side, and delivered with gigantic spoons which did not fit the dish.

We each had a cocktail, which were bitter and complex, and a glass of wine. My wife had the delicious brambly Rioja, and I had the 2001 Lebanese Cinsault (Old Wine From Big Bottles?), which was fantastic, albeit a steep $32. Dinner itself came to a relatively steep amount for 2.

All of the flavors were deeply satisfying. I think the lamb ribs need some work with the cooking. We will be back, especially to stop by for a glass of wine and a small bite at the bar.

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Eric, the substantive reviews will come; it's just a matter of when. I don't want writing reviews to be an unnecessary stressor for our members, and if someone only wants to write for a couple of minutes, I'd rather see, "This place was fantastic, and has the potential to be an important restaurant" than nothing at all. I, too, am looking forward to lengthier essays about Tail Up Goat, and they'll arrive in due course.

They've arrived.

At first thought, three people from Johnny Monis' duo of outstanding restaurants leaving to start their own might sound mutinous, but I've never heard one single person in the industry say a cross word about Johnny (which is puzzling), and the fact that three alumni trusted each other enough to go into business together suggests that Johnny fostered an atmosphere of congeniality and independence. In the end, part of a chef's greatness rests in the list of former employees who went on to become successful in their own right. Think of it as Harvard, and a few students starting a small business in a garage.

Off-topic: Even though I lived through it, it has grown difficult to imagine that Sebastian Zutant used to work at Komi.

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Our first bites of the lamb ribs were delicious. Great Mediterranean flavors in play. But as we ate it, there seemed to be a lot of fatty chunks still in the ribs. Perhaps that's just the nature of lamb ribs, but I would have liked these more, and felt better afterwards, if the ribs had been cooked a bit lower and slower.

wrote about Tail Up Goat a few weeks ago and will repost here.  To sum it up though- I think this is one of the most interesting restaurants to debut in DC recently- and there have been many.  I am anxious to go back for the lamb ribs- which I do think are fatty by nature. I absolutely loved the smoked rutabaga ravioli and would go back for that dish alone. There's much to explore here, and I agree it's an important and very welcome addition to DC dining.

Here's a link to my full post

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The mortadella sammy is something else. And any of the pastas, And the grilled pork main with taleggio polenta. And the interesting bar program (albeit definitely more expensive than I would want it to be in a world where this is my neighborhood restaurant -- Mt. Pleasant, close enough -- and I could gladly hang out here three times a week). And the service, well up to Little Serow standards of openness, friendliness, and genuineness. This place is great. I look forward to them changing up their menu with the seasons, so I can try as much from this team as possible.

(I'm not a fan of the salt-crusted sardine, though.)

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On 4/7/2016 at 8:41 PM, DonRocks said:

This is an important opening, and I predict great things for Tail Up Goat - congratulations to all who are involved with this fine restaurant which doesn't even blink when it comes to using fermentation, mild sweetness, and texture as integral parts of its cuisine.

Don- really enjoy your review- particularly since I'm headed back to Tail Up Goat soon.  and now I can't wait!

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4 visits so far and I love Tail up Goat!  Bread and pasta dishes are superb!  I especially enjoyed the brown rice bread first with fermented turnips, yogurt, hazelnut picada and now with roasted carrot, blood orange, hazelnut picada.  Another favorite:  carrot ravioli, ramp greens, pistachio breadcrumbs, apricots!  I enjoyed the lamb ribs of course, but the whole stuffed porgy, sunchokes, black walnut, ramps even more if that is possible.  The almond cake with mascarpone and rhubarb jam was a delectable way to end the meal.  Now I'm hungry!

tail-04.jpg

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I went a few days ago to Tail Up. I wanted to give it another whirl cuz but I wasn't like blownnnn away. I felt it was good with some courses being better then others. The Lasangna was the best thing to me but I think in general I was off in my ordering. I saw someone get that ravioli above and wished I had tried that as well as the potato salad with trout roe. My main course was not my fave. I got the pork but the spicy "jam" was not a great addition and I just wasn't like "OMG BEST PORK QUALITY EVAAA." Neverdaless, I would go back again and I urge ya'll peeps to go as well it certainly is one of the better places in the city and better then like Mintwood and Cashions and other admo places in my opinion. 

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Let me pile on. Went Sunday, May 8 around 6pm for a spontaneous get together with some industry friends who live down the street. In all we had a group of 6, and were able to post along the corner seats at the bar (the ones adjacent to the hostess stand) as soon as we got there. 

Summary judgment: Food? Excellent. Service? Excellent. Environment? Excellent.

Maybe I'll come back and edit this post to give the full rundown on everything we ate and drank (it ended up being A LOT), but everyone else has pretty much nailed it. [Who does bread this good anyway?

Also apologies to anyone else dining that night in our vicinity as we were, um, boisterous. Yes, we were that group, but fortunately the restaurant design allows for a decent separation between dining room and bar, and the other bar patrons seemed amused if anything.

 

 

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After a third visit Tail Up Goat is by far my favorite restaurant in the area. Sat at the bar tonight for dinner. The cocktails, wine, service and food were all perfect. I'm in love with a restaurant. 

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Had a chance to go as well Sunday night, sat at the bar and had a wonderful meal.  The brown rice bread was incredible, it was so flavorful and well balanced, and something that stands out among all the new great restaurants in DC.  All the dishes were actually really well balanced, with sweetness playing into most of the other dishes I had as well (carrot puree) in the ravioli and beets with the lamb ribs, which as a dish was rich and flavorful and decently filling.  

One thing to warn others who haven't been is that the lamb ribs does come with a lot of cilantro that I had to spend some time picking off.  This is in no way limited to Tail Up Goat, as many restaurants do this, but I do wish if cilantro was on a dish it would be noted on the menu.  It might be a small thing or garnish for some people, but it is really an offensive taste for others (like me).  I can't be the only one who thinks this, right?  I know there are a lot of cilantro haters out there.

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5 hours ago, dz50 said:

This is in no way limited to Tail Up Goat, as many restaurants do this, but I do wish if cilantro was on a dish it would be noted on the menu.  It might be a small thing or garnish for some people, but it is really an offensive taste for others (like me).  I can't be the only one who thinks this, right?  I know there are a lot of cilantro haters out there.

You're not the only one.

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23 hours ago, dz50 said:

 I can't be the only one who thinks this, right?  I know there are a lot of cilantro haters out there.

You are definitely not! I would be upset about that.

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I swear I'm not just saying this cause of the similarity in names, but does Tail Up Goat strike anyone else as having similar flavor profiles to Fainting Goat?  Smoke/char vs. creamy/unctuous with good use of texture and an emphasis on the more rustic?  I couldn't get over that after dinner here the other night, which was quite good, although a bit of a tough place for my gluten-free SO (though they were great about hand-marking a menu to note the gluten-free dishes, a very nice service touch).  Would like to go back and just eat bread there -- looked delicious but didn't bother trying it this time.

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The beet greens and the roasted half-chicken I had here last night were two of my favorite dishes in recent memory; this kitchen is really humming on all cylinders.  Plus the bar program is fantastic and the service was, as always, wonderfully warm.  Thanks to Jill especially for making me feel at home each time I come in.  This restaurant is a remarkable treasure and I'm so happy to have it in Adams Morgan.

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Just now, Gadarene said:

Plus the bar program is fantastic and the service was, as always, wonderfully warm.  Thanks to Jill especially for making me feel at home each time I come in.  

I can't believe I haven't posted on this restaurant yet. Love the food, but the service is absolutely incredible. Jill is wonderful. 

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We headed back to Tail Up Goat last night with some friends who just moved to town. I loved introducing them to what is quickly becoming my favorite restaurant in town. We ordered an absurd amount of food for four people but it was all outstanding. I fear at some point the words "amazing" and "outstanding" will loose their meaning in my posts about Tail Up Goat but we genuinely had an outstanding experience and the food was amazing. 

We started with the crispy salt cod again and added the grilled rabbit sausage and the snap peas this trip. The crispy cod was just the perfect bite of deliciousness. The snap peas were expertly cooked! A bright green and just the right amount of crispness and subtle flavor.  Our friends ordered the rabbit, it wouldn't have been something I would order (mostly because my son was horrified the last time I ordered a rabbit dish as his special stuffed animal friend is a bunny but some things are best left unsaid) but the rabbit was tasty and I'm glad I tried it.

We also ordered the seaweed sourdough and the red grit sourdough and all I can say is that I would beg, borrow or steal a loaf of their sourdough if I could. Their bread is stupid good. I would keep coming for that alone. Its a toss up which I liked more, the seaweed or the brown rice bread we ordered on our previous trip. Both are not to be missed! 

My husband ordered the potato salad and the grilled pork. I didn't try the potato salad and only got a bite of the pork but he said both were great choices. 

Our friends split the whole stuffed porgy and loved it. This is what I ordered last time and can attest its fantastic. I'd go back to that in a heart beat.

I was flip flopping between the half roasted chicken and the carrot ravioli, which we ordered on our last trip and loved. I ended up with the chicken since I hadn't had it before and so that the husband could try it. This could have easily fed two people as an entree but its also great to have left overs! I'm looking forward to tucking into them as soon as I finish this review. 

We skipped the dessert and all had a glass of madeira instead. I know I raved about the wine list in my last post so I won't spend too much time on it in this one but I will say that its such a treat to know whatever Bill Jensen picks will be spot on. This is probably my favorite wine list in town because of its playfulness. I started out again with a glass of the Greek sparkling wine and I would suggest everyone do so, its a fun start to the meal. I tried a glass of orange wine and then settled into my new favorite, 7 Fuentes. I need some of this in my house! We ended with a Madeira from New York that I'm already blanking on the name but its the last one on the list. Outstanding and you guessed it, amazing! 

 

 

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IMO the mark of a great restaurant is one whose entrees are just as well-conceived and executed as the usually more "creative" starters.  The grilled pork with farro in brown butter that we had a few weeks back fit the bill.  The farro was rich and buttery, but not at all overwhelming given what we had eaten already.  Almost the star of the dish.  At most places it would've been an afterthought.

Of course we loved the seaweed sourdough too -- it was reminiscent of open-faced sandwiches we loved in Copenhagen -- as well as the beef tartare special that appears to have made its way to the main menu now.

With two young kids now we really don't have the time or energy to trek into DC for fun meals more than once every few months, so there will always be a dilemma deciding between whether to return to places that we enjoyed so much (here, Convivial, Rose's Luxury) or go where we still haven't been yet (Red Hen, Metier/Kinship, The Grill Room).

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With one night to have a proper dinner in D.C. since moving away five years ago, the choice of restaurant had become a tortuous pre-flight decision. Procuring research from poorly-lit Instagram uploads and carefully read DonRockwell.com passages, I turned my back on old favorites in new places (Ziebold, Ruta) and I went with the not even six-month-old upstart in Adams Morgan -- a decision the staff at Tail Up Goat made sure I wouldn’t regret.

Boulevard Hibiscus Gose ($7) - On tap, relatively inexpensive and paired well with everything. I had three.

“Potato salad”, trout roe, charred spring onion, crème fraiche, seeds, dill ($14) - In my previous online stalking of this dish it was presented with fingerlings cut lengthwise. My version featured red bliss potatoes untouched by a knife. Not sure if it was a sourcing issue at the time but it took the presentation down some. Taste was excellent, however. The salty-creamy-herby combination of a regular potato salad kicked up a bit.

Pappardelle, green tomato ragu, braised goat, pickled raisins, fiore sardo ($18) - The dish of the night ©. The ragu was made with love and lighter than most, while braised meats and fresh pasta is one of my personal favorite marriages of all-time. The pickled raisins were what really took it from great to excellent, though -- a phenomenal addition.

Lamb ribs, sumac onions, cilantro, beets, yogurt, hazelnut dukkah ($44) - Probably their showpiece signature dish at this point, and for good reason. I’ve heard complaints of too much fat on these bones, but I like the contrast between the leaner meat and rendered good stuff. Ribs should be a bit of an adventure at times, not just a sweet, homogenous plank of meat.

The creator blessed me with the cilantro-loving gene so everything else going on here was top notch. I loathed the beet (and cheese) trend but here they were perfect. Again, the restaurant nailed the eclectic semi-Mediterranean theme that resonates through their menu.

Stuffed, immensely satisfied and convinced there was no other restaurant in the city I would’ve rather been at that night, I also became quickly jealous that Tail Up Goat was not in my own zip code. It’s exactly the sort of restaurant that enriches a neighborhood and a city -- I hope it’s still as popular as ever in another half decade.

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On 7/26/2016 at 1:36 AM, will_5198 said:

“Potato salad”, trout roe, charred spring onion, crème fraiche, seeds, dill ($14) - In my previous online stalking of this dish it was presented with fingerlings cut lengthwise. My version featured red bliss potatoes untouched by a knife. Not sure if it was a sourcing issue at the time but it took the presentation down some. 

I've had this dish three or four times, and the potatoes have been slightly different every time.  Always delicious, however.  The current version with pickled fennel stems in lieu of the charred alliums that have rotated through previously (ramps, spring onions) may be my favorite, thanks to their hit of bright acidity.  (Definitely didn't expect that!  I'm a sucker for onions and not usually a fennel lover.)  

So much has been posted about how great this place is, how wonderful Bill and Jill both are in the front of the house, but I can't help but echo the compliments.  I've been to TUG more than a dozen times since they opened, whether for a full dinner or just drinks and a few dishes at the bar, and it's only gotten better since the beginning (and as they get more great summer produce).  The pici pasta with uni, squash blossom, and calabrian chili breadcrumbs was so good on our last visit that we ordered a second round.  Rather than using lobes as a garnish, the thick spaghetti-like pasta (think buccatini without the hole down the middle) is dressed in a smooth, urchin-rich orange sauce.  (I first fell in love with urchin at a years-ago Komi dinner, when a similarly pureed sauce garnished an early raw fish course.  It was the first time I can recall relishing the flavor without being put off by the texture.)  Fair warning, it's a bit expensive at $21 -- presumably due to the cost of the uni -- for the not huge size.  But worth it.  We'll be going back soon to try the ravioli; corn and sungolds are two of my favorite summer ingredients.

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1 hour ago, jca76 said:

The pici pasta with uni, squash blossom, and calabrian chili breadcrumbs was so good on our last visit that we ordered a second round.  Rather than using lobes as a garnish, the thick spaghetti-like pasta (think buccatini without the hole down the middle) is dressed in a smooth, urchin-rich orange sauce.  (I first fell in love with urchin at a years-ago Komi dinner, when a similarly pureed sauce garnished an early raw fish course.  It was the first time I can recall relishing the flavor without being put off by the texture.)  Fair warning, it's a bit expensive at $21 -- presumably due to the cost of the uni -- for the not huge size.  But worth it.  We'll be going back soon to try the ravioli; corn and sungolds are two of my favorite summer ingredients.

This (wistfully) reminds me of uni pasta I had in Catania, Sicily, about a year ago, which was one of the greatest eating experiences I've ever had.  The city (from which you can see Mt Etna) has an incredible fish market, and in the middle of said fish market was the restaurant that served fresh bucatini (I think) dressed with uni pulled straight out of the sea.  Straightforward, simple, and incredible.  I'll have to try this version at Tail Up Goat next time we go!

 

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3 hours ago, notquiteanonymous said:

This (wistfully) reminds me of uni pasta I had in Catania, Sicily, about a year ago, which was one of the greatest eating experiences I've ever had.  The city (from which you can see Mt Etna) has an incredible fish market, and in the middle of said fish market was the restaurant that served fresh bucatini (I think) dressed with uni pulled straight out of the sea.  Straightforward, simple, and incredible.  I'll have to try this version at Tail Up Goat next time we go!

 

I had a similar dish as well at Esca in Manhattan several years ago.  It was certainly the standout dish that evening.

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I think 2.5 stars from Seitsema is about right.  There are some good dishes, but nothing that makes me swoon (based only on 2 visits).  It could very well be that I don't eat usually eat bread and haven't tried any of their breads.

The stracciatella (with peaches, pea shoots, oat crumble) was a combination of sweet and savory which actually works very well.  I was surprised by how tasty it was (kind of like the lychee salad at Rose's).  I think this could've been a dessert course (because it's more sweet than savory).

The cotechino with peas with a small piece of sausage for $14?  

The pici with urchin was unremarkable.  The sauce was slightly fishy, with not nearly enough urchin flavor to satisfy my palate.  I think I bitch about urchin pasta all the time (with few exceptions) so...

The corn ravioli was an exercise in extracting the sweetness from corn.  I enjoyed it.

Ah the lamb ribs - people have complained about how fatty it is.  Yes it is very fatty, but tasty.  I would say it's almost as good as the lamb at Komi or Kapnos (they're just as tasty, but not so fatty, but much more expensive).  But the best I've ever had was in Marrakech, there's an alley of mechoui venders just off the Jemaa El Fnaa Square that will serve you roasted in ground lamb for just a few bucks, which you dip into a mixture of spices (mostly cumin and salt).  The fact that it was dirt cheap may have persuaded me to elevate it above others...

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I continue to think that Tail Up Goat is the most awesome place in DC.  They are doing great business, which is lovely for them, yet it is still possible to wander in early and grab a couple of seats at the bar (or get a reservation for next week if that's what you're into).  

Tonight my son and I sat and ate the two veg bread options - including the new "red grit sourdough, heirloom tomatoes, 1000 island, bread + butter pickles [13]" which is ridiculously good including the best tomatoes I've had all summer - and then dessert including "orange + olive oil sherbet, black lime cashews, ginger crumble [10]."

My "thing" these days, in terms of cooking, is balance among textures and taste/smell senses - and this restaurant is perfect in that way. No dish is overweighted in any direction - each dish balances itself well. And in terms of atmosphere, it is friendly and warm.  Someday I will explain my theory as to why such a restaurant could only exist now thanks to Uber, but that is for another day.

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"my theory as to why such a restaurant could only exist now thanks to Uber"

Lemme guess:  No parking within miles; no metro nearby; expensive cabs.  I'll bet you're right that upward of 75% of their customers are either locals on foot, or come and go via Uber.  Me, I've found a parking space every time . . . but sometimes I circle for 15-20 minutes.

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1 hour ago, Marty L. said:

"my theory as to why such a restaurant could only exist now thanks to Uber"

Lemme guess:  No parking within miles; no metro nearby; expensive cabs.  I'll bet you're right that upward of 75% of their customers are either locals on foot, or come and go via Uber.  Me, I've found a parking space every time . . . but sometimes I circle for 15-20 minutes.

It's right next to the 42 and the Circulator!  Won't somebody think of the poor buses?

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2 hours ago, Marty L. said:

"my theory as to why such a restaurant could only exist now thanks to Uber"

Lemme guess:  No parking within miles; no metro nearby; expensive cabs.  I'll bet you're right that upward of 75% of their customers are either locals on foot, or come and go via Uber.  Me, I've found a parking space every time . . . but sometimes I circle for 15-20 minutes.

I lived in that neighborhood for years, and parking is not great.  Best bet is probably to park on Harvard (there's usually parking near the Zoo) and walk - you'll spend more time walking but less time circling.

I haven't been back since it first opened (because we have a toddler, not because we had a bad experience), but I would go again.  I would, however, do some homework before I went - ordering well seemed important, at least in version 1.0 (maybe even beta 0.9.9) of the menu.

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