The Prodigal Son Returns and the Fainting Goat Hires New Executive Chef Nathan Beauchamp – What’s the early word on Fainting Goat?

1330 U Street, NW

From a press release:

“The Fainting Goat, 14th Street neighborhood restaurant and bar, is thrilled to announce the appointment of its new Executive Chef, a familiar DC face, Nathan Beauchamp, who has finally returned to his old culinary stomping grounds. Following six years of organic farming in Minnesota, teaching culinary school and opening up a craft beer bar in Minneapolis, Beauchamp is returning to DC to helm the kitchen at The Fainting Goat, maintaining a well-executed, approachable menu in a neighborhood setting.

A former RAMMY Award-winning Rising Star Chef, Beauchamp became loved in DC while serving as Executive Chef at Georgetown dining institution 1789. In addition to maintaining a daily-changing menu and helping put the restaurant’s culinary program on the map, he trained some incredible kitchen talents like Dan Giusti, then sous chef, who now is Chef de Cuisine at one of the world’s best restaurants, Noma in Copenhagen.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY, Beauchamp has also worked in acclaimed kitchens such as Park Avenue Café in NYC with David Burke, and in the DC area, Restaurant Eve, Vidalia and Bistro Bis.

Beauchamp left DC in 2008 for Minneapolis, working in several diverse sectors of the food industry. He taught culinary school at the Art Institute, focusing on charcuterie, and dabbled in organic farming at Gemini Farm in Wadena, MN, growing rhubarb, potatoes, green beans and other seasonal, local produce. He also co-opened Devil’s Advocate, a craft beer bar and restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. His goal with the menu was similar to what he plans for The Fainting Goat: creative, but approachable food that surprises people.

“Coming back to DC after a few years away is very exciting!” says Beauchamp. “I equate it to the prodigal son coming home again. I missed being on the East Coast and I’m happy to return to see family and friends.”

The Eastern Shore native says the menu will remain very similar in format (with categories broken down into “Nibble”, “Graze”, “Chomp” and “Feed”) and cooking style (contemporary/modern American), but he will put his own culinary stamp on each dish. With the restaurant’s location on U Street, the menu will be approachable, incorporate some international flavors, and highlight fresh seasonal vegetables and produce.

“After only working in fine dining while in DC, I wanted to change pace and work in a casual space while still creating innovative food,” says Beauchamp. “So when my good friend Greg (Algie, owner of The Fainting Goat) presented me with the opportunity, I knew this was a perfect fit. The restaurant is beautiful, and I am very excited about getting back into the kitchen and especially, pairing the food with their stellar beverage program.”

Dishes that will roll out in mid-July may include smaller bites like Uni Toast withshaved zucchini, radish, opal basil, and Charred Carrots with farro, date molasses, goat cheese; and larger entrees like Arctic Char with cucumber miso, fava beans and pickled chanterelles, and Duck Meatballs with huckleberries and lime cracklins.

And of course, The Fainting Goat will still have its namesake protein on the menu: Chef Beauchamp is playing around with dishes like a Braised Goat Arancini with tomato confit, a Jamaican Curry Goat Sandwich, and Goat Carpaccio.”

You can see their full menu here. Fainting Goat opened in Dec. 2013. Any fans?

17 Comment

  • justinbc

    I wonder if he would continue to use that parable knowing what prodigal means. It’s not a good descriptor for someone intending to run a kitchen.

    • Good new picture; it’s much less infuriating

    • Reckless and wasteful is not a good descriptor for anything, me thinks.

    • Yeah, it’s pretty clear that practically nobody knows what prodigal actually means.

    • Ha! Though, to be fair, he really seemed to be referring to the “return” part of the parable rather than to the recklessness of the son in the parable.

      • tonyr

        I had a boss who was always saying that we’re entering a “Brave New World”, like that was a good thing. Also “Midas Touch”

  • I ate at Fainting Goat last Friday. The food was neither here nor there; not terrible, no spectacular. I’d like it to be a bit better for the price point.

  • I hope he treats his kitchen staff better than the last guy. My understanding is the back of the house there is a bit of a plantation.

  • I see we’ve reached the point where a U Street bar/restaurant nevertheless declares itself to be in “the 14th Street neighborhood.”

    • Hahaha good catch. Wow, I just can’t believe it.

      To be fair, though, at least Fainting Goat is at 14th. It will be really bad when someplace at, say, 12th & U starts using that!!

  • I’ve never eaten there, but I drink at the Goat a lot since my friend lives nearby. As a bar I’d give it 4 out of 5 – great cocktails, nice vibe (especially on weekdays), and super friendly bartenders. The crowd was a little sceney at first but seems to have changed for the better lately.

    Also, those charred carrots sound delicious. I may have to order food to soak up the booze sometime soon.

  • I’ve never eaten there, but the menu isn’t terribly appealing, and the prices are a complete turn-off.

  • I’m a big fan of the Fainting Goat and have enjoyed it as a gastropub sort of thing, with a lot of smaller eats options for when I don’t want a main dish with my beer (some of us really do like small plates). I’ve really enjoyed the goat tartare, though the presentation seemed to change each time I got it and I must admit that the last time I cam in, it was too salty (which I figured was a chef turnover issue). I hope it stays around (in its original, pre added salt form). The clams have also been really good each time I’ve tried them, as have been many of the rotating greens, and the spreads on bread dishes (there was a butternut squash one, I think, when they first opened that was great, and the ricotta one now is simple but a pleasure). I like the carefully curated beer list, too. So I’m hoping it doesn’t change too much.

  • Not impressed with food at all, so this can only be good?

  • I completely hate the menu. “Beef,” “Goat,” etc. with no description of the type of meat or how it is cooked. I really don’t like having to quiz the waiter or bartender about each dish to even know what it is. No prices or ordering info on the charcuterie menu, either. Apparently it’s three for some price and less for each additional, but I had to wait to get the attention of staff to get that info. Annoying. (Also weird that cheap “sides” like pickled vegetables count as items with the same price as more expensive meats or cheeses…) No signage or info about the happy hour specials, and no info provided by the bartender 2/3 times I was there. Nice to hear about the details only after ordering an expensive drink when a regular asks about the daily punch. All of these problems could be solved by providing normal menus that provide the information you would expect on a normal menu. The food itself was a mix of good and just okay, on the expensive side for just okay. Drinks were good.

    I’ve also had really mixed service at the bar here. But the bartender who would completely ignore you went on a long trip to Costa Rica or somewhere, so maybe it has been better.

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