Knowing that March was a Dine Around Seattle month, and that we were going to have a visit from the Dining Diva’s sister, we decided it would be fun to go to dinner at the Stumbling Goat Bistro, which is about five minutes from our house up on Phinney Ridge. We had been there once previously for happy hour and really enjoyed it, so it seemed to be the perfect time for a return trip.
I was definitely glad that I had decided to make a reservation because when we showed up, the place was completely packed. It’s not a large place, seating maybe 70-80 people total. The front door is in the middle of the restaurant with tables on both sides. There is a bar in the back right, and the kitchen is straight back. It was a little dark, but I wouldn’t say intimate as there was a good deal of energy going on in the place. We got our seat right by the hostess stand. Three of us got menus, and the fourth got construction paper and crayons.
Given that this was a Dine Around Seattle evening, I had the option of putting together my own three-course meal, as did everyone else. And we opted to take advantage of this menu rather than ordering a la carte. Well, except for Kaelyn who got the truffle risotto because she’s sophisticated like that. I, on the other hand, decided I would start my meal off with the steamed mussels before moving on to the pan-roasted chicken and then finishing with the panna cotta. Sounded like a very nice, rustic, comforting meal.
It didn’t take too long for the first courses to arrive which was very welcome given that we were all pretty hungry. The curry aromas coming from my little bowl of mussels got my mouth watering right away. The mussels were very well cooked; nice and tender just like you would expect. But it was the broth that I really enjoyed. A little bit of sweetness and that distinct, yet subtle, curry taste. I actually enjoyed it so much that I broke one of the mussel shells in half so I could use it as a spoon, enjoying just as I would a soup (and appropriately finished by using the bread to sop everything up).
Our dishes were cleared away and we got to talking and waiting and watching Kaelyn who was getting more and more restless. It seemed to take a really long time for our entrées to come out. Finally, Kaelyn’s risotto appeared and ended a rousing game of “cheers” and “crayon toss”. The rest of the dishes weren’t too far behind. My dish was definitely a very rustic, simple dish; roasted chicken and mushrooms served over some potatoes with a sauce that I’m guessing was mostly the pan drippings. It was a good dish. The chicken was cooked well, and the mushrooms were nicely roasted. The flavors were good, though a little muted. It wasn’t anything that was amazing, just nicely done.
After we finished our entrees, Kaelyn had pretty much decided that she was tired of sitting, and started roaming a little bit. We were all doing our best to try and entertain her and keep her in the area, while hoping that it wouldn’t take as long for the desserts to arrive. It didn’t and as soon as they hit the table, we dug in. I had been hoping for the Meyer lemon panna cotta with the blood orange syrup, but unfortunately they had switched to a brown sugar panna cotta. It was good and when combined with the little shortbread cookie provided a nice textural contrast. But again, the flavors were pretty muted.
We ended up having a very nice dinner, and Kaelyn had the opportunity to say hello to quite a few people in the restaurant (fortunately she’s pretty dang cute). It wasn’t so much that the service was slow (though it was a little longer than expected between appetizers and entrées) as it was trying to do a 3-course dinner with a one and a half year old. For me, the highlight was the broth that the mussels were served in. Everything else was pretty simple and good, but not anything that would draw out an “oh wow” comment. The women had a similar take in that it was good, but there were things that were just a little off with their meals as well. Overall it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered, but it was good enough that I would still recommend people check it out.