Tail Up Goat, Washington DC.

May 2019.

The name refers to animals apparently indigenous to the Virgin Islands, where one of the owners is from (the goat has its tail up, the sheep down…). This whimsical approach extends to everything else about the restaurant: menu, wines, service… For all that, from us it’s thumbs up goat for an unusual but very satisfying experience.

It was dinner on our last night in the city, starting around 7 PM with a reservation. Frontend managers were preoccupied but civil and got us to a nice table along a dining room side wall, in the midst of massive vocal outcry. A lovely server showed us the menus and we started with two of the poetically-named cocktails, Milko and Honey (a sweetish gin item) and Queens Boulevardier (another with bourbon etc.). Both very nice, especially the bourbon one with lots of bitters-and-beyond sting.

Talking about wine the list is even more whimsical with each item given a title by one of the owners (Bill, it turned out, according to the knowledgeable engaging sommelier): Nice Minoan You, The B-Side Hit, Isn’t She Bubbly? We went for a 2010 Rioja (which I don’t see on their online wine list) which was tempranillo-y (the whimsy is contagious) but with just a kiss of volatile acid.

We shared yellowfin tuna crudo and foccacia with meatballs, two of the starters, the first one lovely raw fish with piquant vegetable adornments, the meatballs warm in both senses and the bread moist and crispy. Nice, creative, and very deftly-executed dishes. Then we had a big pork chop with romesco, grilled asparagus and ramps, lettuces and lemon creme fraiche, which was perfectly executed (ordered medium rare and it was), tender, juicy, and well-framed by its minimal accompaniments.

I’m making this note a week or so later and lost both my photographs and the bill but recall the price being about at-expectation for the goods. We were nicely treated and the whimsical funny stuff really wasn’t offensive, the staff sincere and a bit wry about the owners’ approach to life. Sure it was noisy as hell, but at least there was no driving competing clanging from loudspeakers. We’d go back.

Food 9.2, service 9.0, ambience 7.9, value (probably) 8.1, peace and quiet 5.0

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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