Wild Goat Bistro – California Grill

6 Petaluma Blvd North A-5 / Petaluma / 707-658-1156

Category:  California Grill, Slow-Cook Food & Pizza
Daily:    L – D
Mon-Thu   11:30am-9pm
Fri-Sat  11:30am – 9:30pm
Sun  11:30am – 8:30pm
Specialty:  Pizza & House-made Deserts
Indoor and Outdoor Patio Seating
Beer & Wine

****  May ’12  –  $$-$$$

For such a small, 850 square foot space with inside seating for only 35 this restaurant runs like a well-oiled machine. The wait staff is well-trained in the art of service and they know the menu and the wines being offered well. Helpful but not intrusive service is the mark of a well run restaurant, enhancing the dining experience.

Restaurant names fascinate me and I like learning how a name is chosen. In this case, especially so since the owner is a vegetarian and the name refers to meat! Well, that was simple explains the owner, Nancy DeLorenzo. The space Wild Goat Bistro occupies in the Old Petaluma Mill was a former meat storage locker for a local butcher. Not sure where the wild part fits in but, it works for me.

Nancy is also very interesting having started on her culinary journey at the tender age of 12 years old, working at a relative’s pizzeria in New Jersey. Between then and now she has worked both in the kitchen and in the front of the house for large corporations like Neiman Marcus and Bullock’s in So Cal as well as smaller venues like helping to open Graffiti’s across the street from The Wild Goat in Petaluma. Very much a part of the California organic, sustainable, farm to table movement the ingredients Nancy uses are always fresh and locally sourced. Upon request, breads, pizza crusts and pasta can be ordered “gluten-free.”

The menu is a small and large plate format with meat, fish, chicken, salads, pizzas and lucious looking deserts. Large plates for dinner only and sandwiches for lunch. We came for dinner with another couple on our first visit and decided on  Slow Pork-Braised Shanks ($17.50 ****) with simmered tomatoes & garbanzo beans, Spanish Chorizo and Mediterranean spices. Very tasty. Cobb-Grilled Chicken Salad ($7.75 small – $12.75 large ***) excellent starter or main course salad with apple wood smoked bacon, chopped egg, avocado and creamy blue cheese dressing. Cider Poached King Salmon ($18.50 ****) with sautéed honey crisp apples, rosemary and thyme. Cooked perfectly and flavored well by the use of apples and herbs.

Sandwiches served for lunch only, offer a Petaluma Burger ($9.25) Niman Ranch Angus beef with aioli; Wild Mushroom Sando ($9.25) swiss chard, roasted bell peppers, artichokes, fontina, aioli and black truffle salt; Herb Smoked Turkey Breast ($8.50) Provolone, baby greens, tomato and aioli; and an Albacore Tuna Sando ($8.75) with sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, basil, celery, olive oil and lemon juice to name a few.

Nancy’s Italian heritage and earlier pizzeria experience coupled with her frequent trips to Tuscany, Italy have guided her well with nine offerings of Neapolitan Style Pizzas. I want to come back to try one of these beauties with the thin, thin crust. They looked and smelled wonderful passing by our table!

Dinner over it was time to sample some of those deserts I had been staring at all through our meal. The photo above really does say it all. Gorgeous, mouth-watering and very tempting. We tried four. Well, there were four of us dining. Why not? German Chocolate Cake, Lemon Cake, Cappuccino Ice Cream Pie and Carrot Cake. The German Chocolate was the best I can recall eating and was made by one of the wait staff from her grandmother’s family recipe. Melted in your mouth. However, the Cappuccino Ice Cream Pie was running close behind and the Lemon Cake was as light as air. The Carrot Cake was good, too. All of the cakes are displayed on pretty glass cake stands on the counter in front of the kitchen and I dare anyone not to order at least one.

Get Thee to Wild Goat Bistro in Petaluma and see if you can eat just one desert! After you eat your supper, of course.

Wine Notes:  Excellent offerings of very unusual wines from all over California. If you need help ask the staff as I did. They are very knowledgeable.

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