For most diners, an evening at a Michelin-star restaurant typically involves putting on their Sunday best and brushing up on table etiquette. But that’s not the case with Tail Up Goat: as soon as you walk into this Adams Morgan restaurant’s bright and airy dining room, you notice there are no white tablecloths or white-gloved servers. Tail Up Goat is part of the rare breed of restaurants that achieve some of the highest honors without the pomp and circumstance of the fine dining establishments of yore.
Now don’t get me wrong — I thoroughly enjoy putting on a jacket to go to some of the city’s best restaurants. But it’s also nice every once in a while to let loose a little in a more casual setting, while still indulging in a world-class meal.
Our dinner at Tail Up Goat started off with some nice and crispy salt cod fritters which brought back memories of recent travels to Spain, followed by a spectacular chicken liver mousse alongside fresh-baked Einkorn sourdough and smoked apple butter with celery, horseradish, and pecans.
The restaurant also offers an impressive wine list, but we opted for the cocktails this time. First up was their version of an Old Fashioned dubbed the “Alright, Alright, Alright” made with bourbon, rainwater Madeira, Capitoline Rosé, and Fernet Francisco. Later on came the equally great “McCarron’s Mistress” with Glenmorangie Lasanta, Pierre Ferrant 1840, lemon, and egg white. Perhaps next time we’ll try one of their eclectic Georgian or Greek wines.
Before heading into the pasta courses, we opted for an exceptional plate of Red Fife sourdough with their savory burnt bread sauce, bacon lardons, chilies, lettuce, and Meyer lemon. I can see this dish being overlooked when perusing the menu, but take it from us, you do not want to miss it!
Next up was pasta — we had two dishes that really blew us away in both flavor and preparation. First there was the toothsome casarecce with pork sausage, kale, lima beans, and ricotta salata, all cleverly topped with Calabrian chili breadcrumbs for some added texture. Second came the beautifully plated parm triangoli with sweet onion, pea shoot pesto, along with lemon and garlic breadcrumbs.
By this point, we were nearly stuffed but knew we couldn’t leave (and neither should you) without ordering their signature lamb ribs. This dish was really the pièce de résistance at Tail Up Goat — tender, fall-off-the-bone lamb meat with date molasses, za’atar and yogurt onions, pickled walnut, and perfectly roasted potatoes.
With an a la carte menu, a casual vibe, and reasonable prices, Michelin-starred Tail Up Goat feels more like a neighborhood restaurant than a destination, similar to the hidden gems found in the Mediterranean cities that inspire its flavors.