The bar was busy this evening and the bartender was showing off bar tricks. Interesting considering some of the business clientele.
The menu features local produce and house-made offerings. Diners can choose a variety of small plates to Nibble ($7 each), Graze ($11 each) or Feed ($15). We ordered one or two dishes at a time and kept the menu to determine the next tasty morsel to enjoy. Dishes arrive as they are prepared. If one wants to eat in a certain order, selecting one of two dishes at a time ensures the desired progression.
First up, or course were cocktails and wine. For the cocktail it was The Only Thing You Drink: Aperol, St. Germain, Lime Juice, Rosemary Sprig. I really like Aperol which has a slightly bitter orange flavor (I imbibed quite a bit of this in Italy), but the sweetness of the St. Germain overpowered the subtle bitterness of the Aperol. This is not necessarily the fault of The Blue Goat. Many specialty cocktails in the area tend to be on the sweet side to accommodate local tastes. Still, very pretty presentation.
The wine list offered many choices at decent prices. We went with Terra Blanca Arch Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State. A nice red with good body and fruit.
To eat we began with the pate maison with gherkins and pickled peppers. Wrapped in bacon and sporting pistachios, the pate was a nice departure for us and very enjoyable with the crostini provided.
Next up we selected the pork and venison bolognese over house made gnocchi. What a spectacular dish! Meaty and flavorful sauce, shaved parmesan cheese, and the best gnocchi I have ever had - light fluffy pillows of pasta. Yum.
Polyface farm pork belly over white bean cassoulet. The pork belly was on so tender and the belly fat had melted over some of the beans. Great flavor. And then I tried a few white beans and this is where The Blue Goat faltered. The beans in the cassoulet were crunchy. A disappointment to be sure. If the beans had been done, it would have added that creamy/starchy aspect to the dish and I would have waxed rhapsodic. I want to give kudos to our waiter, however. He noticed that we had not finished the beans and asked about them. We relayed our experience. After taking the half-eaten dish back to the kitchen, he said the chef apologized and we were comped the dish. So while the dish faltered, the service did not.
We then tried the pommes frites with pork dust, sea salt, and garlic aioli. Yummy. Great flavor and crisp on the outside and creamy baked potato softness on the inside. Probably the best I've had in Richmond. And it was great to have the garlic aioli for dipping.
And we splurged on dessert: Chocolate Godiva Pate and Caramel and Lava Salt Gelato. Both delicious.
Food at The Blue Goat (for the most part) was sensational. Slight missteps were handled promptly and satisfactorily. The wine list was not over-priced. The prices on the food did seem a bit high. I loved the frites, but $7 for a small serving might be tough for some folks to shell out. The bolognese was part of the Feed menu, but seemed small in portion for the price (maybe it was so good we wanted more). Desserts were $8.
Go for the exquisitely prepared food, but keep an eye on your wallet as the small plates add up.