A modern bistro that serves Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine, Adams Morgan restaurant Tail Up Goat has been making waves in the District. Owners Bill Jensen, Jill Tyler and chef Jon Sybert are all alumni of Komi, the acclaimed Greek restaurant in Dupont Circle that is highly frequented and adored by local residents. Rumor has it President Barack Obama even celebrated his birthday at this quaint eatery.
With this in mind, I was eager to try Sybert’s newest restaurant, which opened just weeks ago. Already booked out weeks in advance, Tail Up Goat is worth the wait. We secured two seats at the bar where we enjoyed one of the best meals I have had in D.C. to date.
The restaurant has a relatively small dining room, but one that was bustling with life, even on a Thursday evening. The space evokes island vibes with beautifully tiled floors and colorful walls that are reminiscent of a sunset in Santorini. The polar opposite of Komi with its white tableclothed dining room, Tail Up Goat is definitely a more casual and approachable concept. However, the dimly lit room and sophisticated touches made it feel like the hippest restaurant in the District. Unlike many other haute cuisine restaurants in D.C. Tail Up Goat boasts an intimate vibe that really added to the dining experience.
The menu consisted of a wide range of options in every section. The bread section of the menu was particularly intriguing, with options including seaweed sourdough with ciccioli ($11), charred chocolate rye with salt-crusted sardine, butter and pickles ($14), and brown rice bread with fermented turnips and yogurt ($10). We opted for the seaweed sourdough as suggested by our waiter.
The seaweed added the perfect amount of saltiness to the sourdough and was topped with ciccioli, which is similar to duck pate. This dish alone is enough to warrant a second visit to the restaurant. Tail Up Goat also sells a limited number of its leftover loaves.
Every dish at the restaurant looked aesthetically appealing. However, the menu itself was not particularly vegetarian-friendly. Among the meat options were the smoked hen of the woods, mushroom with burnt bread sauce and chicken crisps ($25) and the lamb ribs with sumac onions, favas and hazelnut dukkah ($42), which serves two. We opted for the lamb ribs, which completely blew us away. The meat was seasoned perfectly and paired impeccably with the onions and dukkah, a yogurt sauce. The tanginess of the sauce was the perfect contrast to the heaviness of the meat. We did not order a pasta dish, although they all seemed very tempting. Chef Sybert offers a wide array of innovative dishes from lasagna with goat, kale, anchovy and salsa verde ($26) to maltagliati, with fermented honey sausage and pea shoots ($17), which our waiter recommended as the best dish on the menu.
To end our meal with something sweet, we ordered the butterscotch budino with blood orange and candied pistachios ($9). The dessert had a consistency similar to a butterscotch pudding, and we devoured the bowl in seconds.
Despite its relatively steep prices, Tail Up Goat is a great option for special occasions for diners looking for a hip joint serving Mediterranean or Caribbean fare. The decor is one of a kind, and its wide selection of delicious — albeit nonvegetarian — dishes makes it one of the District’s best new offerings.
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