Stumbling Goat Bar and Bistro

Written by on February 18, 2011 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Phinney Ridge

How I heard of this place: I am struggling to remember how I first heard of the Stumbling Goat, but I am certain that I have passed by upon a number of occasions and found the name to draw me in. When the establishment appeared on the Seattle Restaurant Week’s one-hundred restaurants, it had to be one of the first on our list! And, on this special birthday occasion, Suzanne recommended it as a delicious place to treat ourselves.

Type of cuisine: Combining local ingredients in Northwest cuisine gives a fresh and clean flavor to local, sustainable items being prepared in a classic style. “Joshua Theilen has worked in some of Seattle’s top restaurants and catering establishments since graduating from the Art Institute of Seattle in 1999; including the Hunt Club in the Sorrento Hotel, Restaurant Zoë, and as the chef at Lowell Hunt Premier Catering. Most recently, Joshua was the executive sous chef at Trellis Restaurant in the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland. While at Trellis, Joshua won the Northwest Stir publication’s 2008 “Young Lion – Sous Chef” award. Chef Theilen brings to Stumbling Goat Bar & Bistro a passion for clean flavors, fresh local product and classic technique.”

Ambiance: A perfect neighborhood restaurant, combining artwork, a cozy space, and delicious food in a seamless and accessible fashion. The restaurant is broken up into two areas upon entering. The space immediately in front of you and to the right is open, generally well lit and also hosts the bar. Local artists works are hanging (and available for purchase) throughout the space in colorful and bright style. Dark wooden tables and matching chairs, high and low, are set apart with enough space to walk between, yet close enough that charismatic conversations can be enjoyed by neighboring diners. To the left, upon entry and clearing past the hosts podium, you enter a more dramatic, sultry space, where the walls are painted deep red and the ceiling black. Fewer tables are set in this portion of the restaurant, each ornamented with a miniature vase of three small flowers, a thick dark glass votive candle holder for ambient light and a miniature, but heavy glass bowl filled with salt. The seating area to the right as you enter, which can also be viewed from the doors suspended from the walls in the front, is more open, contains the bar, and feels slightly more casual. Table decor is consistent, staff immensely friendly and helpful and the food as superb as ever! From conversation to clanging silverware, the Stumbling Goat is the perfect neighborhood restaurant for an evening out with friends or date night with that special someone! Add it to your list of places to try, restaurants to frequent and local establishments to support.

What I ordered: Among the three of us eating, we shared the thinly sliced French bread served with two spreads: a tomato, basil, garlic puree and an olive tapenade. After hearing the specials of the day, for starters we had two orders of the parsnip puree ($7 each) with onions, leeks, potatoes and cream, blended together for a creamy texture, topped with curry oil and chives. In order to have something slightly different at our table, I selected the mushroom soup ($8), a puree of wild and domestic mushrooms, crème fraiche, two delicately shaved slices of mushroom, topped with truffle oil. For our main entrees, I was most tempted by the grilled hanger steak served atop a bed of arugula mashed potatoes and topped with grilled Walla Walla onions over a demi-glace. Our waiter recommended the Thundering Hooves Beef Bourguignon ($25), with baby carrots, oyster mushrooms, pearl onions, fingerling potatoes, as it was new to the menu. (The hangar steak has been on the menu, through changes in ownership, for the past ten years!) The dining companion seated to my right ordered the Pan-Seared Sturgeon ($27), served over Beluga black lentils, in a citrus brown butter. The birthday boy, seated to my left, opted for the special du jour: a 10-ounce BeeFalo Ribeye ($32) over flagoulet beans, lacinato kale, hedgehog mushrooms and a demi-glace. Although stuffed, we could not pass up dessert! Two selections were made for our table to enjoy: the first, on their daily special menu, was a Meyer lemon pot du creme ($7), topped with a huckleberry compote; the second, a new addition to the Stumbling Goat menu, Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Doughnuts ($7) served over a drizzle of citrus crème anglaise and basil syrup.

What I loved: It is truly difficult to pick just one thing that stood out at me as being the best from this evening at Stumbling Goat. Everything from the space to the appetizers, from the food and company to the artwork and feel of the space made for a perfect dining experience. Of the main entrees, I believe I most enjoyed the morsel of sturgeon I sampled. The soups were equally delicious, the parsnip having a more light and airy feel, the mushroom a hearty, comforting dish on a cold Seattle evening. Among the desserts, the three of us were thoroughly impressed by the fresh-fried donuts dusted with sugar. Everything from the first bite to the last could have lasted longer and I would not have been disappointed – just more satiated.

Why I loved it: Honestly. Good. Food. There is nothing not to love about Stumbling Goat. There is everything to love! From the friendly staff to the cozy neighborhood setting, from knowing that you are eating well, organic, local and sustainably, to feeling the satisfaction of a lip-smacking meal, Stumbling Goat leaves little (if anything) to be desired.

Cost: Average to high ($19-$27 for a la cart dinner entrees)

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