Even before the weekend started, I was in an upbeat mood about our two planned dinner events. I had been looking forward to Tail Up Goat. Good reviews and a personal endorsement from a friend who liked food (get the lamb ribs, he said). But now, I was even more inclined to like the place.
My cousin texted that he was in town from LA for a few days. Let’s get together. So I called Tail Up Goat to see if I could change our Friday night 8:30 pm for 2 to a reservation sometime that night for 3. Understanding, of course, that going from 2 to 3 meant a larger table and could be a challenge, particularly at a hot retaurant. Truth be told, I was already scanning restaurant availability at other places as I talked to the woman on the phone.
We’re really booked up, she said nicely. Sigh, totally understandable. I was about to say, thanks, let’s cancel and see you another time, when she asked me to call later in the evening, after they had confirmed all reservations. She would put a note next to my name and see what they could do. “I’m Jill, one of the owners, so please ask for me.”
Cool. And even better, when I called later that night, Jill told me she had managed to move some things around, and if we could bump back to 8:45, she could seat us then. Awesome!
The food at Tail Up Goat was as delicious and flavorful, as their management was organized, friendly and customer-oriented. In other words, it was excellent, surpassing expectation even. There wasn’t one dish that wasn’t terrific.
Since the lamb ribs were for 2 people, we added another larger, entree style plate and then selected an assortment of bites (2) and small-to-medium plates (2). Turned out to be plenty of food for three hungry people, without being too much.
Of the bites, I thought I’d like the cod fritters, but really love the rabbit sausage. It was the other way around. The fritters were perfectly fried, crispy on the outside, but soft in the middle with the cauliflower tucked in there, the mustard sauce and pickled vegetables on the plate cutting the rich fried taste. The rabbit sausage, on the other hand, while good and creatively plated, seemed to pale a bit by comparison.
The best taste of the night had to the be the pici. I think both G and my cousin were slightly skeptical. Pasta with uni sauce, squash blossoms and toasted bread crumbs. It was a little hard to image, but every forkful of this creamy, buttery pasta was amazing. The breadcrumbs added texture and bite in contrast to the silky smoothness of the sauce. The pasta standing up to the rich yet delicate flavors. I could have eaten an entire mountain of this dish. But then would have rolled downhill to get home …
I suppose the seaweed sourdough with seaweed and pickled oyster was Tail Up’s variation on avocado toast. But so much better. Again, the interplay of crunchy (bread) and salty (seaweed) and rich (oyster) was perfectly balanced. I’ll chose not to think about the whipped lardo. Although I’m sure that was the key contributor to the toasted crunch on the sourdough …
The famous lamb ribs did not disappoint. They came right off the bone and shockingly, didn’t make a mess. The spices were rubbed into the meat, some crusted on the outside surface, but with a flavor that penetrated into the ribs. Here the beets and yogurt sauce counterbalanced the meat flavor.
The pork chop was also excellent, and the Mediterranean style beans with tomato sauce delicious. I might have just wanted the vegetables in that dish – over orzo or underneath roasted fish.
We wanted to try dessert. As in really wanted to, but it wasn’t going to happen. So putting that on the list for next time. Also, the roasted chicken, which intriguingly is only “while supplies last”
A note about the location. If you haven’t been in Adams Morgan in a while, you should stop by. There are still some divey bars and pizza by the slice places, but you also have shiny new apartment buildings and redone spaces. Tail Up Goat is in the ground floor of one of these new buildings, next to a bright, glassy coffee shop that wraps around the corner of Adams Mill Road and Lanier Place. The entire corner looks beautiful, the perfect intersection of city vibe and warm, comfortable neighborhood. Kinda like Tail Up Goat.