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A Birthday Dinner at Tail Up Goat

7 Jul

Let’s face facts – Rachel and I don’t go out nearly as much as we used to before we had kids, and now that we have two, expect that frequency to dip even further.  But then there’s the sacred “date night”, a time where Rachel and I hire a sitter, have a glass of wine, and enjoy each other’s company at a restaurant that’s either a staple of ours or has garnered some recent buzz.

Tail Up Goat, which opened earlier this year amidst much fanfare, boasts staff from the outstanding Komi and, perhaps one of my favorite restaurants, Little Serow. Located in Adams Morgan, Tail Up Goat is situated in the ground floor of a The Adamo; a condo building I didn’t even know existed that demonstrates how long it’s been since I’ve last visited this particular D.C. neighborhood.


We kicked off the evening with the Stracciatella. The texture of the cheese resembled that of burrata, but was even creamier, and was accompanied by crispy artichokes and salsa verde. It was a very pleasing summer appetizer.

Charred chocolate rye

Up next was arguably the most unorthodox dish of the night – the charred chocolate rye. The freshly baked bread was generously smeared with a pea pesto and then topped with pickled tomatoes and salt-crusted sardines. Yep, sardines. There was a lot going on with this dish, and while I appreciate how the kitchen tried to create a balance of sweet and salty, the complexity of flavors was slightly overkill.

Carrot ravioli

On the other hand, the carrot ravioli demonstrates how Tail Up Goat excels in its pastas. The carrot-stuffed pasta, accompanied with baby leeks, apricots, and topped with pistachio breadcrumbs, was one of our favorite dishes of the evening. Just an incredibly unique dish that was perfectly executed.

Lamb ribs

And then that brings us to the crown jewel of Tail Up Goat: the lamb ribs. Quite reminiscent to the family-style main event goat platter at Komi, the ribs are meant for sharing, and Rachel and I went to town on this Mediterranean-style dish, complete with sumac onions, beets, and a wonderful yogurt sauce. Between the incredibly tender meat and generous portion (roughly 8-9 ribs), the visit is worth it alone just for this entree. Trust me.

lemon curb-stuffed cannoli

For dessert we decided to order a pair of lemon curb-stuffed cannoli. Topped with pistachios and placed on a dab of citrus marmalade, it was a playful interpretation of the classic Italian dessert.

Another highlight of the meal was the outstanding service. You could tell that the staff was disciples of Johnny Monis’ attention to detail, from the food, to the atmosphere, right down to the interaction between waiter and customer. Our server was incredibly helpful, attentive, and just all around pleasant.  I’m glad we had the opportunity to enjoy one of the rare nights Rachel and I get out at an establishment like this.

Tail Up Goat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mintwood Place

26 Oct

One of the District’s most buzzed about restaurants since opening in the beginning of this year was Adams Morgan’s Mintwood Place. From critical acclaims (it made Tom Sietsema’s Fall Dining Guide) to presidential visits, executive chef Cedric Maupillier has delighted diners with his eclectic blend of French and southern American cuisine.

Mintwood Place has been on our bucket list of restaurants to visit since they first opened their doors in January, but it wasn’t until a late August day that we finally made our way over there. We decided to dine out on the patio as the weather was perfect for an outdoor dinner.

The menu adds a French twist to southern classics, as was the case when we decided to order a plate of escargot hush puppies as an appetizer. And if you were curious, they were as delicious as they sounded. Wonderfully crispy on the outside and delicately rich on the inside, it’s a clever dish that’s well-executed. Generously-sized portion, too.

Escargot hush puppie

We took some time deliberating over what to order as the main course, but instead of each ordering a different entrée, we tried something different and opted for the roasted pork for two. It turned out to be a very good choice as we were served a mammoth platter of sliced, succulent pork.

Roast pork for two

Accompanied with a roasted mound of garlic and housemade charcutiere sauce, you also have a choice of two sides, so we ordered the broccolini and roasted mushrooms. Both were very flavorful side dishes and complemented the juicy pork. Blending the roasted garlic with the charcutiere sauce and gently spreading it over the pork greatly enhanced the dish.


Considering that the restaurant’s other entrees average around the mid twenties while the side dishes are a la carte, $46 is a very good value for the platter when you factor in the generous portion of pork and duo of sides.

Roasted mushrooms

In fact, we were so full from our main course that we had to pass up on dessert. Nonetheless, the service at Mintwood Place was exceptional. Our server not only knew the kitchen’s preparations by heart, but he also helped steer us in the right direction by recommending the roasted pork. Mintwood Place is an excellent addition to Adams Morgan and is one restaurant we would wholeheartedly recommend.

Mintwood Place on Urbanspoon

Brunch at Napoleon

19 Dec

While I had never been to Napoleon since it opened in Adams Morgan several years ago, I have now been for brunch twice in the last few weeks. I can now say that it is a great place to catch up with a close friend as well as a fun gathering with a group of girlfriends.

Walking into the restaurant, it definitely has a fun and classy vibe, with the red and black walls, chandeliers, disco ball hanging from the ceiling, and French music playing in the background. I was told that this place is known for fun coffee drinks, champagne cocktails, and of course, croissants, crepes, and Croque Monsieur.

Blood Orange Mimosa

The first time I went with my friend Livya, she insisted I share the chocolate croissant with her, and what a great decision that was! Buttery, flaky, and with just the right amount of chocolate inside, it tasted like something straight out of Paris.

We then chose from some of the decadent-sounding coffee drinks, and I went with the mocha cappuccino while Livya ordered the French vanilla latte. And what would brunch be without mimosas? We got the blood orange mimosa with Sicilian blood orange juice and prosecco. If the drinks were any indication of how the food would be, then this was a good start.


For my entrée, I ordered the Bolivar, which consisted of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs rolled into two crepes and topped with a citrus caper sour cream. I loved the lightness of the crepes, and the fact that they were filled with salmon and eggs made for a great bite, especially with the cream on top. I generally avoid filling up on potatoes during brunch, but these were too good to resist.

As I mentioned, I didn’t have to wait too long, as a group of us went again and warmed up from the cold this past Sunday. Again I got the blood orange mimosa, as well as the tropical green tea that came in a nice individual pot. I wanted to try something different this time, and was torn between one of the crepes or getting a benedict. In the end, I went with the smoked salmon Benedict, and was very happy with my choice.

Smoked Salmon Benedict

The portions of smoked salmon beneath the nicely poached eggs were generous, and with those lovely potatoes it was just a satisfying dish all around.

Napoleon may also be known as a champagne bar at night and a fun lounge in Adams Morgan, but I would highly recommend it as a great brunch option that won’t break the bank but will make you feel like you’re in a Parisian cafe in downtown DC.

Napoleon on Urbanspoon

First Look: Jack Rose Dining Saloon

3 Jun

While word is out that Jack Rose will officially open its roof deck this weekend, we were lucky enough to check out this gorgeous space last Saturday night.

We had heard a lot of buzz about this new DC behemoth, and couldn’t wait to see if it lived up to the hype. Unfortunately the main bar area wasn’t open when we visited, and won’t be until June 14th according to Eater. No matter, we walked right upstairs and were very impressed by what we saw.

Rooftop Terrace

The bar itself actually consists of five separate bars, include a main floor, a roof deck with a main bar, a side deck bar, a beer basement, and an executive tasting room. Phew! Color us impressed the minute we walked in.

Although the main room was still under construction, we peeked in from the window and couldn’t get over how long the bar itself was, 52 feet to be exact. There will be 20 taps alone there, along with rare casks and imports in the den downstairs, with shared taps upstairs in addition to cans. Essentially a beer lover’s heaven.

Main Bar - Under Construction

View of the main bar, still under construction

But this place is really catering to those who love Scotch: there will be over 1,000 types of Scotch and bourbon, not to mention an extensive cocktail list, mainly for the tiki-type bar outside. Yep, this place is paradise for drink lovers of all kinds, they don’t discriminate!

Right away we were impressed with the layout of the open-air terrace. While you can see the Washington Monument off into the distance from the top of Jack Rose, the decor made you feel like you were somewhere in New York or LA and not blocks away from the rambunctiousness of 18th Street.

Rooftop Bar and Pit BBQ

There’s a long bar against the wall, but plenty of space for standing around and some tables as well. A nice touch is the pit barbecue area, where you can order sandwiches and other dishes. Brett ordered the pit beef on Ciabatta bread while I ordered the grilled vegetable sandwich.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Both were served with a type of purple slaw on the side. I really liked my sandwich, which came with goat cheese, grilled eggplant, red peppers, and spinach. The veggies held up well against the crunch of the bread, and the creamy cheese went well with the char of the grilled veggies. Brett enjoyed his sandwich as well, but his only complaint was that the drippings from the beef made the bread a little too soggy resulting in a little messiness.

We also each ordered a Bell’s Oberon, perfect for an early summer night. I was tempted to try some of the cocktails listed, but thought I would save them for another time. After we ate, we walked around the outdoor area to check out the side bar, which wasn’t yet open, and the inside room, where there was a party already going on.

Memorial Day BBQ MenuPit Beef BBQ SandwichOpen-air terrace

We can already envision this place being packed on the weekends, and lamented the place wasn’t fully open in time for Brett’s birthday, since it would have been perfect.

Obviously we don’t have a complete picture of Jack Rose since it wasn’t officially open or ready yet, but all we can say is that DC is in for a treat and we can’t wait to make a return visit.

Burgers and Beers at The Black Squirrel

24 Mar

During my weekend-long search of the scarcely distributed Kentucky Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing, it had turned out (thanks to the power of Twitter), that Adams Morgan’s The Black Squirrel had carried the rare brew.

Thus we set plans in motion to: a) get dinner at the new Logan Circle barbecue stand Standard, and then b) head over to The Black Squirrel and get my hands on some delicious KBS.

Great Lakes Eliot NessLittle did we know that the world was against us that evening.

When we arrived at Standard at about 7pm, the place was already locked up for the night! A piece of paper Scotch-taped to the fence indicated that the kitchen had completely run out of food and that they were closing at 6pm. Needless to say, I was furious. I was really, really looking forward to devouring some barbecued brisket. Like, all weekend.

Rachel suggested that we should just eat at The Black Squirrel instead since we were going to head over there anyway. She had also heard that the burgers were really good, so off we went.

When we got to the main level bar, there weren’t too many options to sit down, but we were able to snag a table by a TV to watch some of the NCAA Tournament. The waitress came by and asked us for our drink orders. Before she could even take her pen out, I immediately asked if they had anymore KBS. She went to the bar and soon returned empty-handed. Turns out they had sold their last bottles just hours earlier. I was devastated.

Thankfully, The Black Squirrel has one of the better beer offerings in the city. I ordered a Williamsburg AleWerks Washington’s Porter on draft, and while it was no KBS, it was still a very nice beer. We also split a 22 ounce bottle of Lagunitas’ Wilco Tango Foxtrot. It proved to be another solid choice amongst the group.

The Classic Burger

Without hesitation, I ordered the burger and had it topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, barbecue sauce, and sautéed mushrooms. Starting at $10, some toppings (such as the aforementioned pickles and sauce) are 50 cents while others (such as cheese, bacon, etc.) cost an additional dollar. It quickly adds up, and while I agree that a slice of cheddar or scoop of chili should cost an extra buck or two, there’s really no reason to charge for something like pickles which is typically complimentary at most places.

When it arrived, I was not only impressed by the size of the entrée, but also the quality of the beef. The kitchen uses Hereford beef which is grounded in-house. When I bit into the burger, I couldn’t help but be enamored by the juiciness and flavor of the beef. While I asked for it to be cooked medium, it was clearly more on the medium rare side. Not that I had a problem with that.

What I did have a problem with, however, was the seasoning they used to prepare the beef. It was just too damn salty. I had to keep reaching for my water, in addition to my nicely-paired porter, since I was ingesting an overabundance of sodium. Had the kitchen laid off the salt, it would have ranked among the better burgers I’ve had in the District.

Tomato bisque soup, grilled cheese and bacon sandwich, and side side salad

Rachel ordered the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and the waitress bought out a bottle of Eliot Ness instead. She didn’t mind or complain as she likes both beers, but it was just a slight oversight by the busy waitress. Rachel was originally looking at the veggie burger but decided in the end on the soup, salad, and sandwich deal of tomato bisque, grilled cheese, and a side salad. It was ideal for someone like her who can never decide what to get. The grilled cheese and tomato soup undoubtedly hit the spot on a late Sunday evening. She opted for tomato instead of bacon in the sandwich, and the thick white bread was perfect for soaking up the bisque.

Overall, The Black Squirrel is a nice little hangout if you’re looking for some choice brews as well as some good bar fare to pair it with. I’m already looking forward to coming back and checking out their recently opened basement bar. If they are going to be tapping Canadian Breakfast Stout in the near future, you can rest assured I’ll show up within the hour.

The Black Squirrel is located at 2427 18th Street NW in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.

The Black Squirrel on Urbanspoon