Tail Up Goat
I plan trips around food. For years, I'd scour over menus and reviews before and after picking a restaurant, but I found that going in with all these preconceived notions was ruining the experience. If they didn't have a signature dish, or it wasn't as good as I expected, I was let down. I decided that what I'd do is look for places that showed up on multiple "best of whatever city lists" or places recommended to me by friends/bloggers I trust, and just go. No reading the menu. No reading reviews. Tail Up Goat was my first stop in DC and I knew two things about it: Bon Appetit mentioned it in their Washington D.C.: Restaurant City of the Year article, and the team behind it came from Komi and Little Serow, the latter being one of my favorite restaurants I've ever been to.
Situated at the northern edge of Adams Morgan, Tail Up Goat has an almost beachy vibe, with pale blue walls and warm wood tones. It has a similar vibe to Rose's Luxury—it's comfortable enough to be a casual neighborhood spot, but could easily work for a business dinner or date night spot.
The menu is meant for sharing; the waiter recommended two dishes per person and, for the first time in my life, we three all agree on the same six dishes.
Crispy salt cod fritters nuzzled in a bed of smoked cauliflower puree start the meal off on a high note, taking us back to the trout beignets we had at a gut-busting epic meal at Niche last winter. Following close behind is the cucumber + melon plate, though after a few bites I wish the melon wasn't there at all—the rest of the plate, potato, smoked trout roe, pepitas, and dill, works better without it, in my opinion.
Jill Tyler, one of the owners, told us the bread courses—I'm hesitant to call them toast or bruschetta—couldn't be missed. I've been living off Union Loafers bread for almost a year now, so I consider myself the Jim Lahey of bread eating. I cut into the seaweed sourdough, making sure not to lose any of the pickled mussels, whipped lardo, or sea beans on top, and take a bite: pure gluten bliss. The brown rice bread is an umami bomb with summer squash, yogurt, black garlic, and benne seeds. If I could turn back time, I would just order 3 orders of each of these.
I'd later find out that Tail Up Goat's lasagna is a "must try" dish, but I had no idea at the time of ordering. Instead, we pick the sweet corn ravioli, finished with sungold tomatoes, fresno peppers, and caper breadcrumbs, a summertime dish that's gone in seconds. I appreciate there being a lighter option on the pasta side (which is the main reason we didn't get the goat lasagna).
It's not a Whiskey and Soba family meal if there isn't a mountain of meat at some point. In this case, that mountain is made up of grilled lamb ribs—my favorite fatty cut of lamb when I'm feeling like a glutton. I particularly enjoy them when they're prepared with Middle Eastern flavors, like sumac and dukkah.
I would consider my first foray into somewhat blindly picking a restaurant to be a success, and I'm convinced that by the time I visit D.C. again, this place will be nearly impossible to get into. Get in while you can.
1827 Adams Mill Road NW Washington, DC 20009 202.986.9600 [/one_third]