Capital Caprine Cuisine
Those Three Drunken Goats sure can cook
By Erica Wayne 08/17/2011
It’s been almost three years to the day since we first tried the brand-spanking-new restaurant in Montrose with unusual food and an even more unusual name. So, last month, we decided a second visit was long overdue and headed up the hill with the same friends who accompanied us on our original foray.
Three Drunken Goats on Honolulu Avenue has a tapas-focused Spanish kitchen. The menu’s the creation of consulting chef Jason Michaud. And the name? From the three major partners and a Spanish wine-soaked goat cheese called “drunken goat” (cabra al vino); I kid you not.
The Goats’ interior, with long darkwood tables and eggplant-tinted walls, isn’t exactly cozy. Ceilings are high and painted black. A wine bar is set up at the front of the restaurant, with an open kitchen stretched across the rear. It seems able to accommodate far more than the stated 86-person capacity but, on this repeat visit, it seems less cavernous. Have they divvied up the space?
I’m not sure.
The menu lists almost 40 items that can be ordered to share, so the most important thing is to get the entire table to be of one mind, no easy task. On our maiden visit, we agreed to pass up most of the (seven) larger plates to concentrate on smaller delicacies, with delicate negotiations (over a pitcher of white sangria — $30) to finalize the choices.
Most of the tapas we ordered back then are still available: golden beets with hazelnuts, arugula and goat cheese ($9); piquillo stuffed with idiazabal (north Spanish peppers with smoked sheep cheese — $9); patata with truffle oil and cabrales (fried potatoes topped with Spanish blue cheese — $7); bacon-wrapped dates with chorizo ($9); grilled octopus with potato salad and chorizo ($9); and scallops wrapped in jamon serrano with corn remoulade ($15).
The beet salad was perfect, and it was hard to find fault with the others. I especially loved the tubers, although the wonderful piquancy of the cheese blocked any hint of truffle oil; and we were favorably impressed with the smoky flavor of the peppers and their molten filling. The octopus was tender and its potato salad side, laced with spicy sausage, delightful. Our scallops were plump, set on a sweet bed of creamy corn. And it was thumbs up all around for the dates.
Although we were sorely tempted to simply reorder the tapas we enjoyed so much on our initial visit, we eventually decided to limit our small plates to three we hadn’t sampled, asparagus with jamon serrano, manchego and hazelnuts ($9); pulled pork with piquillo peppers and toast ($8); and sugar chili prawns with Mediterranean remoulade ($12) — all just as satisfying as those we devoured back in 2008.
Then we picked two entreés to share as well, a simple but tasty grilled half-chicken with root vegetables and baby carrots ($15) and sautéed Chilean sea bass with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes. (I must say that ordering this endangered but supremely delicious fish is always a guilt-inducing decision; paying the Goats’ $24 price tag seems a suitable penance for such irresistible sin.)
You’d think, with the quantity of food and wine consumed, we might have foregone dessert. But on our first visit, we had to sample the Goats’ upscale churros ($6). Almost celestially light and hot enough to singe the roof of our mouths, the two ropes of deep-fried pastry hardly needed the cuplet of bittersweet chocolate sauce they were paired with. And, three years later, we settled on the same item (like most things on the menu, at the same price and just as pleasing).
As satisfied as we’ve been with our two meals, we know we still haven’t done justice to the entirety of the Goats’ menu. Cheeses ($4 a portion) include chunks of all those featured in the tapas and several more, including mahon, capri chevre, tres leches and the aforementioned cabra al vino. There’s a $13 charcuterie platter, paella for two ($28), grilled lamb chops with mint and greens ($18), crab croquettes ($9) and much, much more.
The Goats’ wine list includes Spanish, Californian and South American choices. (Oddly, their house wines — still with an animal theme –– are both South African “Bored Doe” (Get it? Bordeaux!) and “Goats in Village” viognier ($23 and $24, respectively). And they stock some nice artisan beers (like Delirium Tremens, a Belgian strong pale ale — $8) and Spanish dessert wines, though the most interesting vintage sherries and ports have disappeared from the Web site menu.
But, with lots still left to sample on our next visit, we four stuffed pigs forced ourselves once again to say farewell to the Three Drunken Goats who have joined the ranks of those good friends we long to see far more often than is possible. We’ll be back, little goats, to join you again in celebration of fine food and drink (with any luck, a bit sooner than before). Till then, adios and muchas gracias.