Wednesday, September 14, 2011

With its own Garden out back, Goat Town Restaurant's Farm To Table Menu is a Standout

Goat Town bistro restaurant (it says the name is a derivative of the Dutch word for Gotham) is still in the bubble of restaurant discovery. 
It is in its culinary ascendency, but not for long.
Farm to table food lovers from The New York Times to Time Out to New York Magazine to this reporter, have fallen hard for the Goat.  

A recent lunch at this darling of a Lower East Side outpost was a culinary treat.
The bar was set rather high, considering all the foodie reviews. 

A visual delight is the heady décor. Those subway-tiled dining room booths as seen from a news report or web site is just so non-dimensional – setting up the expectation that while it may look cool, it will be hard as nails to sit on. 
Au contraire. 
(See, real life IS better than digital – just like music and well, you know…) 

Sliding into the creamy subway tiled booths is titillating--because the design is new and different, thanks to the design team at hOmE.
While any died-in-the-goats-wool (sorry) would gladly suffer for fashion and good looks, it’s immediately all too evident the seating is truly comfortable. 

Next up is the server Erin who is very friendly and smart.

My cousin Maryann, (the talented Academy-Award winner) and I went for the fennel dishes we’d read about at Goat Town.
While not on the menu in the way we’d hoped for, we did get to indulge the herb in a fanciful way.

But first, there was the beer tasting.
There are lots of captivating choices: drafts, can and bottle -- from Stella to Anderson Valley to Bear Republic to Keegans.  It was decided Radeberger was refreshing beer of choice for that day.  

The bar is open, long and fun so diners can look forward to plenty of great bar chat and food talk here.  Be sure to catch Goat Town's daily Happy Hour - good drinks and lots of fun.

Next up were the appetizers.
The “taste the sea’ anchovy Mecox Bay/Long Island oyster deep fired with relish, lettuce, and egg, celery, and vinnagraite was the ready order, especially because Mecox Dairy and the area are featured in this reporter’s upcoming book, “Hamptons and Long Island Homegrown Cookbook.”  
It was also a preferred menu choice because oysters are a New York City iconic, not-to-be-missed menu item. In any iteration.

Goat Town offers up select East Coast and West Coat Favorites that will leave aficionados slurping in muy simpatico. In addition to Mecox Bay’s mild crisp flavor, there was Pemaquid/Maine (lemony & light), Island Creek/Massachusetts (salty, buttery and briny) and Fisher’s Island/New York (strong hint of salt, sweet and clean) to name a few.  

The fois grois organic chicken liver was a stellar choice too: breaded with a bit of butter and served with the longed for fennel, spicy watercress, and homemade blackberry jam. 

Desserts were a must-try lemon cheesecake with a seasonal compote of raspberry couli and a salted caramel Knickerbocker sundae with homemade caramel ice cream, accessorized with salted pretzel. 

The Knickerbocker sundae was worthy of a transcontinental move if you do not live near the Lower East Side neighborhood.  Wow!  
Guest can readily link the over-the-top desserts as a tribute to owner Nicholas’ pastry chef status at Gramercy Tavern and Gilt.

Chef Jessica Wilson
Hopped up on sensational flavors, it wasn’t long before we had to meet Goat Town’s acclaimed chef, Jessica Wilson.  
But not before New York’s Bravest paid a visit to the restaurant!
Seems the neighbors were perhaps a bit too much eager…and code had to be settled.  All was resolved in a New York minute.  

Soon, compliments and shared food and foodie friend networking were exchanged with chef Jessica before heading out to Goat Town’s awesome, inspiring, backyard, raised-bed garden, designed and maintained by none other than Annie Novak.  

Chef Jessica in her garden at Goat Town
Goat Town’s Executive Chef Jessica Wilson is the talented chef cum farmer, homegrown cook from Vermont and she proudly says many of the seeds are from her home there in Wolcott.  

Homegrown Goat Town culinary crops include nasturtiums, chives, sage, fennel, pineapple sage, shisedo peppers, hyssop, lemon thyme, zucchini, arugula, radish, cucumbers, squash – and one very agile, and adorable cat!

Chef Jessica surveys Goat Town crops for menu


While I was talking to the super-talented, homegrown chef, Matthew Weingarten, over a recent deliriously summertime lunch at his Inside Park restaurant on Park Avenue, (he cited the amazing garden and food.  As well as subway tiled booths.  “I was surprised how beautifully comfortable they are” smiled chef Matt. 
Matt is in the final stages and chapters of his soon to be published cookbook. 
The content and layout and design sounds extraordinary and unique.  Look for more in-depth coverage here soon. 
Chef Matt is a featured culinary artist in this reporter’s upcoming book Homegrown New York Cookbook. 
Go now to Inside Park for a sneak peek of what is so compelling about this chef’s singular ability to foment frisson among foraging, farm to table, and cooking to inspire recipes that follow the seasons. 

Back to the Goat:
The Goat Town menu is flirty yet all business. 
The Goat Town restaurant is luxurious in the way only authentic place and experience can be. 

Goat Town is located at 511 E. 5th Street, (at Avenue A) NYC, 10009

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