by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
Even in an era when most Boston diners hardly blink at beef cheeks or wild boar, one meat seems to be a restaurant rarity: goat. Though most commonly spotted in Indian or Jamaican cafes, the wonderfully unctuous meat--all the aromatic flavor of lamb with the textural richness of beef--has been popping up in hoitier food milieus, from fusion tacos to modern curries. Do we really need to tell you to get your goat?
(Photo: Goat curry at Brookline Lunch by Christine Liu)
Updated: December 02, 2009
When battling a gnawing hunger or simply a long day, dive into this hidden gem for a life-saving, steamy, groaning platter of goat curry. A veritable mountain of stewed goat meat mingles with roasted vegetables, which is then heaped on a bed of rice pooling with rib-sticking gravy. It's a seldom discovered dish on a menu more known for its delicious, dirt-cheap omelets and French toast.
Goat cheese heaped on goat meat? The plot, not to mention the sauce, thickens. On the "Unleashed" section of the menu--next to the rattlesnake cakes, naturally--chef Brian Poe's tacos feature goat roasted in jalapeno and chipotle jus, laced with Thai red-cabbage slaw on a Peruvian potato and corn tortilla, and then topped with peppercorn-infused local goat cheese.
Highland Kitchen chef/owner Mark Romano launched his spicy coconut curried goat stew years ago as a cook at Green Street, where he gleaned legions of fervid fans. In true groupie style, devotees now flock to Romano's Somerville neighborhood joint for the same honest-to-goodness lip-burning bowlful of meat, tempered with jasmine rice and sweet fried plantains. It's the closest thing to a signature dish on a menu otherwise studded with Southern-drawled po' boys and grits.
At this Belmont homestyle Italian kitchen, the goat-laced "vesuvio" pasta dish gives tribute to Mount Vesuvius, the landmark near Gragnano, Italy, where chef Dante de Magistris learned to make it. As a traditional Neapolitan preparation, pasta di gragniano is topped with goat ragu (the meat braised with tomatoes, garlic and fresh oregano) and a fonduta of caciocavallo cheese. We're feeling rich.
If you're going to duck into an Indian joint for your goat fix, you might as well do it in unabashedly low-frills style. Punjabi Dhaba--fashioned after a roadside eatery one might find in India--ladles enormous mounds of tender goat curry, vindaloo or saag on institutional aluminum trays, while you find comforting distraction in the Bollywood videos flickering on ancient televisions. Open until midnight daily, the Dhaba is a dependable staple for late-night, goat-craving peckishness.