The Stumbling Goat has been one of our favorite restaurants in Seattle for a while, yet oddly enough one that we don’t go to very often. We did try to visit last year, right when the place happened to be changing hands and getting renovated by the new owner, and were stymied. We finally made it there last week, stopping in before going to see Compañia Nacional de Danza at the Meany.
I was a bit worried, since I liked the restaurant so well before, but I think the changes are very positive. The heavy red curtains are gone, and the main dining room and bar area are now much lighter and airier. The food is still focused on local seasonal specialties, the service is admirable, and the drinks list is well thought out. Even though we showed up with no reservation, we were given a very nice table by the window instead of stuffed into a corner (unlike some places…).
We began, as we so often do, with cocktails. Jon tried a rum drink (he’s been spending a lot of time over at RumDood lately, doing important research) called a Kraken, and loved it. It was sweet and spicy and comforting, served simply in a tall cocktail glass with no garnish.
I went for the Classic end of the menu and got an Old-Fashioned. It was well mixed, nicely presented and made me happy. The drinks came with bread and a little plate of heavily garlicked tomato-basil spread and tapenade. It was well worth the garlic breath.
We had been eyeing the mussels in Champagne-curry sauce, but one of the specials of the night was fresh clams with chorizo and strips of fennel, so of course we got that. The clams were fresh and just cooked enough, and the sauce was nicely spicy and not too salty to eat by the spoonful. Which we did.
Each of us ordered an entree, but we tried to be fair and switched plates partway through. I found I couldn’t deal, though, and snagged mine back before Jon finished it – it was a filleted rainbow trout, panfried until crisp and served with pancetta, fresh peas and little roasted onions, in a dangerously smooth lemon-butter sauce. The citrusy New Zealand sauv blanc I drank with it cut through the butter perfectly without overwhelming the trout.
Jon got the wild boar ragu over pappardelle (if he hadn’t, I would’ve). It was rich and meaty, and I really loved how the pecorino on top was shaved into ribbons exactly matching the pasta, so you couldn’t always tell if you were about to have a bite of noodle or cheese. The sprinkle of peppery greens over the top was pleasant, but not really integrated into the dish. We both preferred the effect of the peas with the fish. To go with the boar, Jon had a glass of Malbec.
One of the desserts on offer was fromage blanc ice cream, which we were really excited about until we found out the restaurant had run out. Pooh. There were other possible desserts, but nothing we liked the sound of so much, so we just had coffee.
This was the kind of dinner that restores my faith in restaurants. Thanks, Stumbling Goat.