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The Goose in Darien- unexpected gem

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Just wanted to post about the excellent experience we had at the Goose in Darien. I had never been to the prior restaurant - the Black Goose Grill, so I had limited expectations. In addition, I am in no way affiliated with this restaurant, I am only posting because I really enjoyed my experience there and want to share with you all.

We arrived last night and the place was hopping. The theme is cozy, modernized gastro pub.

We were immediately seated upon arrival for our 9pm reservation.

Our waiter promptly greeted us with menus and water.

They have an extensive beer selection. I ordered the Blue Moon on tap and dh ordered a bottle of Delerium Tremens..came in its signature (and frozen) glass (fantastic by the way - if you are into Belgian beer!)

For the appetizer we ordered the mussels. The one snafu was when they came out, they also brought our entrees at the exact same time. Not sure how that happened... but when we were about to just accept the fact that we would eat everything together, the chef, Piergiorgio, came out and shooed the waiters away while he was embarrassingly pulling our entrees back. He apologized and assured me that he would re-cook everything...I was skeptical.

Anyway, the mussels were excellent, each shell has a large meaty mussel. They were in a very light white wine broth with a hint of lemon, studded by capers, sliced cherry tomatoes and caperberries. An unexpected combination which I normally would not care for, but the flavors were very subtle, only enhancing the freshness and taste of the mussels. A perfect complimenting sauce.

As we were enjoying our mussels the manager, Paul, came over to our table to apologize for the entrees being brought out so soon. We told him it was no problem and that his mussels were excellent. We also complimented his beer selection - it is rare to see a Delerium Tremens on the beer menu. Paul told us that he has been preparing the Goose for open since January. He was enthusiastic and you could tell he really cared about his restaurant.

On to the entrees. My dh ordered the sirloin steak sandwich- sliced steak with a truffle aioli and caramelized onions on a softly toasted rosemary foccacia. I tried it and I thought it was excellent. The bread supported the ingredients enough but was still soft to bite ( I hate when a steak sandwich sits on overly toasted bread that scrapes the inside of your mouth- I prefer a softer, yet supportive bread and the foccacia did the trick.) He ordered them with a side of salad, but you had the option for sweet potato fries. His only complaint was that there could have been more steak in the sandwich. But, he otherwise really enjoyed his choice.

I ordered the pork tenderloin, wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, served over collard greens and included in the entree was a side of mac and cheese.

After being served my entree earlier and the chef taking it back, I was honestly expecting a dried-up piece of tenderloin, overcooked and shriveled. Boy, was I wrong. It was the cooked to perfection- lightly pink inside and super juicy. The bacon was the best compliment. The collard greens were an unexpected surprise - it seemed they were sautéed with butter and lemon which worked as a nice contrast to the pork. The plate was drizzled artistically with what looked like a balsamic reduction. I must say the presenation was very impressive for a "pub."

The mac and cheese was served in separate little mug. It was al dente elbow mac, tossed with a lighter than usual cheese sauce and baked with breadcrumbs. It was not a heavy, saucy mac and cheese, which I actually appreciated.

The chef then came over to our table to apologize for the appetizer/entrée issue once again and told us dessert was on him. We ordered the key lime pie- was a creamy key lime filling with a thick cookie crust- need I say more?

An excellent way to end a very delicious meal.

At $75 for 2 rounds of beers, appetizer and 2 entrees, I will definitely be back to the Goose.

Affordable, great atmosphere and excellent service.

Kudos to Paul and Piergiorgio

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  1. thx M, nice review, maybe darien will start to get some good places.

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      1. I had lunch at the Goose recently and it was awful. First, I ordered lemonade and when I had a sip, I practically spat it back out. It was beyond tart and way too salty. I gave the drink back to the waitress, told her it was undrinkable and asked for a ginger ale instead. She came back later and told me the bartender had made a mistake and added pure lime juice instead of the lemonade mix.

        Sadly, the food was just as bad. I ordered the eggplant and mozzarella sandwich on ciabatta bread with a side of sweet potato fries. Fries were ok and the sandwich was not on ciabatta bread but instead came out as a pressed panini. Unfortunately, the eggplant/cheese combination was awful.. either the mozzarella had gone off or they had used the wrong type. It had a crumbly texture like feta and an acidity like bleu cheese that tasted downright nasty in combination with the eggplant. I nibbled the edges of the panini bread and that was about it, I honestly could not make myself eat another bite.

        My SO plus a friend both ordered the Angus burger with fries. Their verdict - an average burger.

        On the plus side, the decor is nice, no complaints about the beers and the waitress did a splendid job. However, I doubt I will be hurrying back soon.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SeoulQueen

          sorry to hear about your experience. the cheese sounds gross, i certainly would not have enjoyed that

          we were there the other day for mussels and beer at the bar. mussels were excellent but we did not have anything else

          1. re: missmar79

            Tried it over the weekend. Not that impressed unfortunately. Doesn't seem that much different from the last iteration "the black goose" a couple of years ago. Still the split between bar area and dining room with a few more tables in the bar area and some extra flat screens for the sports. Other than that what's so different I found myself asking? The food? Nope...usual pub type menu. My colleague and I both tried the black angus burger. I asked for medium and it was cooked medium, which was the best thing about it. Other than that pretty mediocre I'm afraid. A little on the greasy side actually and the meat nothing to write home about. Ditto the fries. I was also non-plussed with the beer selection, same old line-up of stella, sierra nevada, blue moon etc. Nothing different at all. And they need to either sort out the pumps or retrain the bar staff in pouring a pint. Both Sierras were a little "off"...kinda weak and watery maybe even stale. But I let it go...by then I had decided this wasn't a place I was up for lingering in.

            Will I give it another go? Maybe, in a couple of months to see if anything has changed with the kitchen but I'm not rushing back. In summary, I would say that the closest comparison to this place would be "the little pub" in nearby ridgefield but the little pub wins with much better burgers and much better beer list.

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          1. The original comment has been removed