Getting your goat at Tar & Roses
Word travels fast when it comes to the special goat menu at Andrew Kirschner's new Tar & Roses restaurant in Santa Monica. Some friends were having dinner there one night and spotted the big platter of golden roasted meat coming out of the kitchen. "What's that?" they asked. When they learned the details -- a $42-per-person three-course menu with about as much goat as any human could possibly eat -- they immediately made reservations. So this week we went and it was everything a goat lover could hope for.
First, of course, the meat: It's spiced with a vaguely Moroccan blend, cooked in a steam oven until it's practically falling off the bone, and then finished in a hot dry oven to glaze the meat and firm it. Utterly amazing. If you like real goat -- nicely gamey, rich even to the point of being a little greasy -- this is about as good as it gets.
Accompaniments are constantly changing, depending on Kirschner's whim. We started with a salad of frisee, beets and citrus. Well, OK, so we had some of that bacon popcorn, too. And the wood-roasted English peas. And the lamb belly. And the wood-roasted artichoke. And I believe there was some bone marrow as well. But there were eight of us.
Alongside the goat came a couple bowls of couscous and some of those roasted carrots with chermoula mayonnaise and capers. Dessert was chocolate budino and a strawberry citrus tart. The wine list is really well-chosen and fairly priced: A $40 Barbera d'Asti from Boeri was perfect with the goat.
And a couple of hours later, as we made our way to the door, at least two other tables stopped us to ask what in the world we had been eating. Odds are reservations were made immediately.
Tar & Roses' special menus (they also do a goose for $36 a person, a standing rib "rack" for $44 and a shellfish pot for $40) are served any day the restaurant is open, but must be ordered at least five days in advance.
And unlike the rest of the menu, there are no substitutions. "You've gotta just trust the chef on this one," Kirschner says. I'd say that's good advice.
Tar & Roses, 602 Santa Monica Blvd., (310) 587-0700, tarandroses.com
Photo credit: Julie Brinkerhoff-Jacobs.