The Dish: Picnics at the Goat

by Erica Moody

The Fainting Goat holds on to summer with foods that evoke the season. 

Story and Photos by Erica Tropp 


Washington restaurant The Fainting Goat is keeping summer alive with its weekly Picnics at the Goat, a series of monthly-rotating, family-style meals served on Monday evenings. The idea behind these dinners is to celebrate foods evocative of summertime in a casual setting with good company.

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The restaurant began the season with fried chicken picnics in July, continuing with Maryland blue crab feasts in August. Washington Life got the first look into September’s menu, complete with a classic lobster boil.

Prior to the start of the meal, our palettes were moistened with a new type of cocktail the restaurant is experimenting with. Owner Greg Algie described the drink as a unique take on a wine cooler and named it DC MOTXO.

IMG_8933Made with raspberries, strawberries, pinot noir, root liquor and cola, this drink was fruity without tasting excessively sweet, refreshing and a perfect way to set the tone for the summer delicacies to come.

A second wine cooler, dubbed the MG 1330, is created with Lillet Blanc, Leopold’s gin, Cotton Candy grapes and basil.

The drinks are presented in vintage bottles that serve two people. A bottle of DC MOTXO will be sold at and MG 1330 at .

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The hosts of the evening, Brittany Garrison and Dusty Lockhart, Algie, and the chef, Nathan Beauchamp, joined us for the family-style table. And as we tied bibs around our necks, we were served the anticipated feast on three large plates. Each platter included a whole main lobster for each guest, red potato wedges, andouille sausage, mussels and grilled corn, all seasoned with Old Bay. Coleslaw was prepared on the side, as were lemon slices and melted butter for lobster flavoring.

A much-needed roll of paper towels sat on the table awaiting the moment when each diner’s hands were covered in lobster juice. This happened rather quickly, just after Beauchamp performed a short demonstration of the proper way to break open the lobsters: rip off the legs first, and then remove the head and body from the tail.

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Claws come last.

The lobsters were boiled to perfection, as shown by their ease in breaking. One swift crack in our hands was all that was necessary to split open the critter and remove whole pieces of meat. Crackers were only picked up when it came time for the claws, which were too sharp to break manually.

IMG_8932The meal concluded with a warm peach cobbler for each guest, complete with locally grown peaches, oats, brown sugar, butter and topped with vanilla ice cream. The dessert delivered a deliciously smoky taste and left our stomachs sealed with contentment.

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Family-style seating created a good atmosphere for eating and socializing, and our sticky fingers made a wonderful conversation starter.
In past months, the turnout at these dinners has far exceeded expectations. According to Garrison, they had originally planned on having about 20 guests each Monday, but on an average day the crowd ranged closer to 30 diners. On one particularly busy evening, a crowd of about 60 people arrived nearly filling the entire second floor of the restaurant.

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The Fainting Goat is planning to continue their weekly picnics past this month, with preparations for new fall menus on the way. Thus far, Chef Beauchamp is considering an Italian food-themed dinner, as well as some more hearty meat dishes evocative of the coming season.

Picnics range from $25-40 per person with a minimum of two people in each party. Reservations are required for attendance and can be arranged by calling the restaurant at 202-735-0344.

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