Stumbling Goat Bar and Bistro

Written by on October 19, 2010 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! “How did we come up with the name? One of the most frequently asked questions by our guests is how did we come up with the name Stumbling Goat Bistro? When we opened back in 2000 we had originally wanted to call our place “Drunken Boat” (“Le Bateau Ivre”); the title of a poem by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. This, however, was not to be. The Washington State Liquor Control Board informed us that due to a prohibition statute (prohibition, by the way, ended in 1933), we could not use the word “drunken”. Hmmm…when in doubt! Open a good bottle of wine. So as any thoughtful folks might do with less than 2 days to name a business, we opened a bottle of wine and proceeded to cull our creative juices and come up with another name. After SEVERAL unsuccessful combinations we started rhyming things with “Drunken Boat” and finally came upon “Stumbling Goat”.”
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. 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: Six of us dined at the Stumbling Goat on this eating adventure and were so pleased to have been among those privy to a table! We started out with a plate of freshly sliced baguette with two spreads: a tomato, basil, garlic puree and an olive tapenade. After studying our list of options on the prix fixe menu, for starters our table had three orders of the mixed greens salad with one quartered fresh fig and toasted almonds tossed in a sherry vinaigrette. Three of us ordered the butternut squash soup artfully presented with a swirl of crème fraiche and an apple cider reduction. (Later in the evening, one of our dining companions found a table of friends who gave us a sample of the duck liver terrine presented in a small jar with cherry wine gelee.) For our main entrees, at the table we had four orders (two medium-well) of the grilled hanger steak served atop a bed of arugula mashed potatoes and topped with grilled Walla Walla onions over a demi-glace. The two who took one for the team and gave us more food to sample were heroes! One ordered the pan-roasted Mad Hatcher Farm chicken prepared in a light sauce with roasted oyster mushrooms and garlic confit, complete with large, intact garlic cloves. The second selected a beautifully prepared corn and chanterelle risotto prepared with Northwest chanterelles, fresh corn and a house made mascarpone. For dessert, one order of the Bailey’s bread pudding made it to our table, served with a caramel sauce and vanilla anglaise. Three of our dining companions could not help but be allured by the flourless chocolate cake served over a drizzle of raspberry coulis and topped with a small melon-ball sized scoop of house made raspberry ice cream. Having been given the option of substituting other house desserts of the evening for those listed on the fixed price menu, two of us eagerly jumped on the three-berry crostada served with a small scoop of fromage-raspberry swirl ice cream.
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 establishment. Of the desserts, the flourless chocolate cake blew me away! The deep, rich and earthy chocolate in a moist and smooth, almost mousse-like cake was the best I have had. The steak was perfectly grilled, juicy and tender, with a crisp edge of flavor. The novelty and creativity of arugula mashed potatoes could not be beat! The risotto was fluffy and creamy, sweet and light. The chicken amazingly tender and flavorful. 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. Sincerely. Seriously. There is nothing not to love about Stumbling Goat. There is everything to love! Upon receiving our bills – split five ways at Cheeto’s (the server) offer – one of our dining companions shared: “Chocolate cake: Zero dollars. Soup: Zero dollars. Happiness with my friends and Cheeto:…” and was interrupted by another entertaining dining companion, “Twenty-five dollars! Plus tax and tip!” Truly, though,the entirety of the experience was why I loved it.
Cost: Average to high ($19-$27 for a la cart dinner entrees)

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