The Silly Goose in East Nashville

EDITORS NOTE: Roderick Bailey of the Silly Goose won the 2013 People’s Best New Chef in the Southeast at Food and Wine. Please take note of entrees added in since this original post at the bottom.

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.

Pack Mule – Dry Rubbed Pork Ribs, Papaw’s ho cakes, local apples, mustard greens, orange-dried chili sauce.

 

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.

Pack Mule  21.5
Dry rubbed pork ribs, “papaws” ho’ cakes, local apple salad, orange dry chile puree (the ho cakes are crunchy and crazy good).

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.

Uncle Buck  24
Herb roasted cobia, artichokes, Spanish olives, jasmine rice, charred brussels sprouts, orange pepper
vinaigrette
The brussels sprouts that go with this dinner will change anyone’s mind if they think they don’t like them. The cobia, a firm, delightful fish was cooked to perfection and seasoned well.

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.

Silly Goose: Karate Man

Karate Man – Duck Pastrami, Fried Quail Egg, Dried Cherry Gastrique, Frisee, Duck Cracklings, Pistachios, Orange Fennel Seed Vinaigrette

Silly Goose Flat Bread

Assorted Flat Bread

Silly Goose  Caramel Cheese Cake

Caramel Cheesecake

On yet another visit in May, 2013, the food got even better. The grouper was sublime, the scallops tender and yet  had a wonderful caramelized sear. However, the cauliflower soup was the most memorable with a chive oil and manchego crisps.

Silly Goose - Porcini Crusted Grouper

Darth Vapor 28
porcini crusted black grouper, lemongrass broth, carmelized parsnips, brussel sprouts, shitakes, cauliflower, cashews, cilantro rouille

Silly Goose Scallops by Angela Roberts

Hollywood Kamel 27
pan-seared sea scallops, braised pork belly, hearts of palm, blood orange, arugula, hazelnut romesco, parmesan reggianno

Silly Goose - Cauliflower Soup (2)

Boss 8
saffron cauliflower soup, smoked almonds, chive oil, manchego crisp

 

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:

 

The Silly Goose is located at 1888 Eastland Avenue in East Nashville.

Silly Goose on Urbanspoon
Silly Goose on Foodio54

Comments

  1. says

    I love Silly Goose + we’re super lucky because it’s less than a 5-minute walk from our house. my favorite dish so far is the Lyle’s Surprise sandwich – it has hot cappicola, thommé, arugula pesto, basil, shaved fennel, +
    balsamic reduction on rosemary focaccia. It’s seriously the perfect combination of flavors, textures – possibly the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten!

  2. Reggie says

    My wife and I were in Nashville ,from Indianapolis Indiana, for our 61st and 62nd birthday . We have the same birthday . I looked at places to eat and found the Silly Goose . I’m so glad . The food was great but the people working there and the atmosphere were unbelievably . It really made our trip a trip to remember . We will be making some more long weekend trips back to Nashville just so that we can go back to the Silly Goose . Of course you could put one in Indianapolis .

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