Serendipity placed The Fat Radish’s most recent Farmer’s Dinner on Sunday night, an evening that turned out to be the first brisk one of the season. Huddled inside the cozy front bar, invited guests like jewelry designers Lizzie and Kathryn Fortunato mingled with the rest, sipping on crisp sekt and nibbling on what turned out to be many’s first experience with goat, the theme of the evening. The second of the Farmer’s Dinner series, No Goat Left Behind was the much anticipated sequel to the enormously successful first installment, Let’s Get Piggy With It, in which nose to tail dining took a literal turn and a single pig was utilized for every dish served.
No Goat Left Behind is an initiative formed to raise diners’ awareness of two issues – first being that our country’s insatiable appetite for goat cheese leads to an abundance of wasted goat meat, (and as such, mistreated animals,) the second being that goat is delicious. Most admitted their familiarity with the protein du jour was limited to Jamaican curries and Indian stews, with a nervous excitement for what Chef Phil Lewis had in store. The evening kicked with an assortment of crostini featuring goat liver mousse, goat tartar, and goat heart, and a goat charcuterie board, which the group inhaled.
The five-course meal was the perfect antidote for the shock of the surprisingly cold night, with diners sitting communally around candlelight, enjoying the menu among the constant chatter of new friends discussing each course. Beginning with a croquette, both rich and light, cut with cucumber, dill, and yogurt, the food proved to be warm and enveloping. The wines, by Savio Soares Selections, paired unexpected grapes from small organic wineries with traditional flavor attributes – the Pinot Grigio, for instance, mimicked the most pitch-perfect Riesling to the goat croquette. The next course moved to a goat and quinoa-stuffed cabbage unlike anything you’ve choked down at a family reunion, swimming in a veloute of potato and garlic, followed by a family-style platter of braised goat and served over soft, velvety polenta. The roasted loin and leg of baby goat with mashed potatoes used its decadence to set up for the dessert, a fennel and goat’s milk panacotta, garnished with grapefruit and cracked black pepper, the perfect crisp astringency to take one down from the luxurious umami of the entire evening.
By the end of the dinner, the crowd – the type of people that marketers pray for, designers, chefs, hoteliers, architects, and jewelry designers – gave a final toast, celebrating the talent behind the meal, the organizers who toiled over the details, and the cause itself – the celebration of the unsung and incredible goat. Nicholas Wilber, former chef at The Fat Radish, now uptown at Silkstone’s newest venture, The East Pole, may have said it best: “it’s kind of like that ‘kale’ moment.” With goat making regular appearances on the specials menu at The East Pole, and an evening in which every cuisine of now benefits from it, that may just be the case.