EDITORS NOTE: Roderick Bailey of the Silly Goose won the 2013 People’s Best New Chef in the Southeast at Food and Wine.
The night we drove over to East Nashville for this dinner, we encountered three closed bridges, and lots of Saturday night traffic. I was sure Mr. ST was going to give up, but the harder it became, the more determined he was to get us to the area of Nashville he grew up in. When met in 1994, he was living in East Nashville and they didn’t have the restaurant scene they do now. It’s always worth the drive from Franklin, but on this night the pressure was on because it took us forever to get to the Silly Goose. We were not disappointed, and the crazy drive (not typical) was worth it.
The Silly Goose seems to be different things to different people. I’ve heard it described from friends almost as a vegetarian restaurant and from others that it’s the place to go for sandwiches. Both are true, as they started out with a limited kitchen and very cleverly became the place for big bowls of couscous and sandwiches like the Frisbee, an herb-grilled portobello with walnut pesto sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, honey flaxseed.
But as for me, I’ll be returning for the ribs.
The surprise here is I don’t typically go out to eat ribs. I’m much more likely to order the fish of the day, but as we sat on a few bar stools enjoying the whirlwind taking place in the open kitchen, the server convinced me to order these perfectly slow roasted ribs that are “fall off the bone” good. Sometimes I’m not sure if I should trust a server pushing an entree, but the Silly Goose doesn’t roll that way. If they say something is great, they mean it. It’s a small place with a waiting list that thrives on happy customers, like the one that was getting this appetizer plate.
When we ate there before, we ordered sandwiches because the menu was lunch item heavy. Now that they have been able to expand their kitchen equipment, that is going to change as the dinner menu is soon going to include more dinner entrees. There were only four dinner entrees on the menu. The other two were a pan seared arctic steelhead salmon, and a citrus and Greek yogurt marinated chicken. As the menu expands, there will still be many vegetarian or lighter options available.
I look forward to eating at the Silly Goose on a frequent basis. This is good news because the chef/owner, Roderick Bailey, was a contender in Iron Fork 2012. He didn’t win, but he proved his talent with a chili rubbed rack of lamb, and he made the Silly Goose proud that night. He and his small staff put out amazing food and I can’t wait to see his expanded menu.
We ordered the ribs and the cobia and immediately understood why he was one of the contenders.
I took half of my dinner home, and we fought over the leftovers on Sunday morning. I am not crazy for barbecue sauce, but this sauce is different. It’s not too sweet, has a zing to it and it lifts up the dry-rubbed ribs just perfectly. There is an accompanying apple salad that balances out the flavors and textures.
We brought our own bottle of wine, but noticed that they are now serving wine. I’m excited to see the Silly Goose thrive and grow and I look forward to trying out the new additions to the menu, although it might be hard for me to not get stuck on that rib dish.
On another visit we swooned over the duck pastrami, the chicken with lentils (not shown) and the shrimp curry. Silly Goose has a way of making like foods I might not normally be attracted to.
They use a lot of local purveyors and feature a board naming the food artisans and farmers. They make their own ice cream and offer a few tempting desserts. I want to go back for the one they call:
Dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate vessel, blackberry
cream, white chocolate rum sauce, hazelnut crunch
The Silly Goose is located at 1888 Eastland Avenue in East Nashville.