How do we take back Sundays? We have to reconcile what was robbing us of our Sunday solace in the first place: It’s the rowdy Saturday nights, it’s the need to beat the grocery rush to do that meal prep thing you saw on your Instagram feed, and it’s the fear that you simply won’t get everything done to before Monday. After brunching at Tail Up Goat we realized the importance of waking up a little later, going for a lackadaisical stroll to brunch, and enjoying a slow, intentional meal with your closest friends. So, forego your Saturday night splurge and save it for Sunday.
Tail Up Goat is your neighborhood restaurant turned imperative D.C. destination. Opened just over two years ago, Tail Up Goat has made serious headway in the restaurant scene. Jon Sybert, Jill Tyler, and Bill Jensen are the trio responsible for the gorgeous nautical-esque atmosphere, the fresh Mediterranean-inspired small plates, and the essence of home for all those longings for some good old hospitality.
Entering Tail Up Goat is like finding a piece of jewelry you dropped on the floor and never thought you’d find again as it bounced across the room. The door is nondescript, but beyond the portico, you’ll find something unexpected, yet absolutely pleasing. The space has a certain serenity that many gargantuan D.C. restaurants lack; you’re welcomed, your business is appreciated, and you’re encouraged to hang out, relax, and just enjoy.
The brunch at Tail Up Goat is a $40.00 price fixed menu, not including drinks. While this may seem steep, let’s be real, a bottomless option added to your entree, plus the surcharge for being a rowdy group of 10+ at any other restaurant, you’re likely spending well over $50 anyway. For brunch at Tail Up Goat, you get a Michelin quality appetizer, entree, and dessert for half of what you’ll end up spending at dinner—that’s a steal.
We had to start with our beloved Bloody Mary, but ordering any sort of wine is an excellent decision as their sommelier is incredible, and no question is a dumb one. Served elegantly in a sturdy glass with a delicate paper straw, this Bloody looked like it was packed with flavor—and it was. The beverage is thicker than most and was a nice balance of sweet and smokey. After sipping the only one we ordered, everyone at our table asked for a personal one.
Tail Up Goat operates their menu on a seasonal basis, so it’s expected to change, but this menu gave us faith that whatever items roll out in the future will be nothing shy of excellent. The appetizers are not your typical brunch starters, in fact, few things on the menu scream brunch—but we kind of like it. The Tail Up Goat team gave us an abstract array of dishes that created a dialogue at the table. We approached each dish as clues to solve the mystery of the secret brunch component.
The appetizer segment of our brunch journey consisted of pork belly, a ricotta pancake, and tuna conserva. We brunch investigators interpreted the pork belly as a version of a juicer slice of bacon. This opener was decadent but brightened by fresh herbs. Smothered in date molasses, the pork belly was a plate-licking type of experience.
The ricotta pancake was the most brunch-like item on the menu, yet it was also not comparable to other pancakes. It was petite but tall in stature, making for an actual cake consistency inside. Atop the pancake were crumbled nuts, cream, and cherry syrup. Each bite of the fluffy pancake started with a touch of tartness and then was washed away by soft cream.
The tuna conserva was light and simple. We took this as a take on a tuna salad, egg salad, or white fish spread you’d accompany your bagel with. The tuna was cooked well and really delicious with the hardboiled egg and anchovy. Our only qualm: the dish left us wanting a crunch, a cracker, or a, well, bagel of sorts to pair with these fatty and salty components.
For the main event, we shared the grilled mahi-mahi, tagliatelle, and grilled pork. The mahi-mahi was slathered with a ravigote sauce, which was like a slightly more acidic Hollandaise you might find on an Eggs Benedict. The fish was tender, and maintained its heat, making the dish a really perfect seafood situation. The dish was accompanied by a crazy crispy potato. The potatoes were sliced thinly like a crepe and piled above one another to then be fried, and resulted in what looked like a slice of crispy layered cake. I’d eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and maybe late nights after too many drinks.
The star of the show was the tagliatelle. A Tail Up Goat rendition of carbonara, this pasta is everything pasta for breakfast needs to be. Composed of the most delicate tagliatelle I’ve had in a while with creamy mushrooms, this entree was comfort food of poised proportions. The dish evolved as we ate it, with the breaking of the neon orange duck yolk, and the mixing of spicy honey and the audible nosh of crispy bread crumbs. Every bite was different and better than the last.
Finally, we enjoyed the grilled pork. The pork rested on a bed of polenta with taleggio cheese and charred veggies. Pork can be a tougher piece of meat, but this was cooked well through and soft on our palates. The polenta was of creamy consistency without being too finely pureed. The charred veggies added a bit of a funky smoke. While interesting, I felt the funk didn’t agree with the rest of the flavors.
The best part about brunching with a table of four is that there’s always room for dessert. Sweet bombolonis, ginger sorbet, and a custard concluded our Tail Up Goat brunch saga. The bombolonis were essentially cinnamon and sugar doughnuts served with orange cream and orange jam. The caramelized candied citrus flavor is exceptional for a sweet treat after a big meal. The doughnuts were perfect, but compared to the uniqueness of the other two dishes, they weren’t the greatest hits.
The sorbet is like a lip-puckering Lemonhead, but sophisticated with candied turmeric (superfood candy?) and hazelnuts. This, my friends is how all big meals should end: fresh, cold, and with a bit of salt to induce a salivating experience.
The ending plate was an extremely special custard. The dessert comes in the form of your average flan, but glides through your mouth like silk as it dissolves. The custard was coated in a sour balsamic, and adorned with honeycomb. These earth-connecting ingredients put us in a place beyond a square table with proper service, and to a picnic during the golden hour.
The Bitches say: five Champagne flutes for Tail Up Goat’s brunch.
This meal will make your Sunday.
Tail Up Goat serves brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.