Tasty Bites from the Foggy Goggle Osteria| 09.07.18
Downside: Mostly Pasta Dishes (A Downside if You Are Not A Pasta Lover), Parking Can Be Crowded Especially During Height of Bike Season
Mountain Rating 7.8/10
We recently tried the Foggy Goggle Osteria in East Burke for the first time. I love the location. Right near another restaurant and the Tiki Bar at the head of Kingdom Trails this restaurant is in a prime location for an evening out.
I found the restaurant itself to be super cozy. To get inside we walked through the outdoor patio area where people were happily chatting away under strings of lights, enjoying the nice weather despite the growing darkness. Inside the door we were met with the bar area. This set a more casual tone for the restaurant.
As we moved into the dining room, we noticed that there were actually two dining areas. The first is adjacent to the bar and has a few tables. The second room is more private, with 5 or 6 tables, allowing for more intimate conversations without the noise floating in from outside or the bar area.
We dined during late summer, so at the time the adjacent parking lot, which also serves the Burke Public House, Mike’s Tiki Bar, and Kingdom Trails, was almost full. It was noisy due to the number of people at all of these establishments which made the quiet coziness of the back dining room a nice respite.
Local photographs and rustic farm decor gave the space a sense of place while allowing the rooms to feel open and airy.
The Menu at the Foggy Goggle Osteria
A look at the menu sets the tone for the meal. It is filled with dishes that are Italian inspired but feature ingredients from around the world. This livens up dishes that otherwise could be very heavy and allows for a more unique flavor profile.
I was excited by their tapas menu. For those that are not familiar – Tapas, or small plates, are like appetizers but are often made to be shared or are smaller versions of main menu items. We started out with two tapas: the Cured Salmon Boats and the Trout Bites.
The salmon boats were beautifully presented with long Romaine lettuce hearts spread with avocado, and lined with cured salmon and cucumber. The night we ate here was hot and muggy, so this light dish was just what we were looking for.
The first bite offered the most interesting of texture combinations – the crunch of the lettuce and cucumber was immediately followed by the creaminess of the avocado. The texture of the smoked fish was lost but not the flavor. The cure was light enough that it didn’t overpower the other ingredients nor leave a salty taste in my mouth. And because the dish was wrapped in the long lettuce leaves, we could eat them like tacos.
The second Tapas plate offered more cured fish, only this time it was trout. This was served on a cucumber slice spread with a yogurt dressing that resembled a soft cheese. I was very taken with this dish. The contrast of the light crunchy cucumber with the stronger, more dense fish was perfect. Each slice was one bite making them simple to eat. And the portion size and content of the dish made it so that I had room for my entree, which is not always the case with an appetizer.
Both tapas were wonderful and perfect for a warm evening or a light introduction to a bigger meal.
I later inquired about the smoked fish and was delighted to find out that the curing for both was done in house by the owner/chef!
The Main Course
I am a pasta fanatic, so the Foggy Goggle was an exciting find for me. My husband is not a pasta fan, and that had me a little worried at first. Luckily the pizza menu came to the rescue. He ordered The Mexican pizza and I ordered Pollo al Rustica.
The pizza that came out was a good size, resembling a large pie from many pizza places I have dined at. The dough is a house made sour-bread dough topped with their house sauce. Cheese, Italian sausage, mixed bell peppers, red onion, corn, jalapenos, garlic, and herbs are then spread over the top. This pie was too spicy for my taste, but my husband enjoyed it. He commented on the flavor and on the slow burn that followed (later my son greatly enjoyed the leftovers).
The Pollo al Rustica dish included sauteed chicken pieces tossed with mushrooms and arugula in a sherry wine sauce served over linguine. The green of the arugula added bright spots to the otherwise beige dish, making it lovely to look at. The sherry and cream made it smell even better. I dug in, and quickly became full. This is a heavy dish, as cream sauces tend to be, and is quite filling. The greens and mushrooms helped to keep it from being too dense.
I was happy to see that in addition to the pizza menu, there are a number of gourmet sandwiches like a BBQ pulled pork and the smoked brisket sandwich; a portabella burger; fish and chips; and a NY strip steak for those who, like my husband, are not real pasta eaters.
We didn’t try desert that night, as we were heading over to the Tiki Bar, so that is on my list for the next time we visit.
Instead, I tried one of the specialty cocktails – The Dark and Stormy. This drink is made from Reed’s ginger beer served with a splash of lime and float of dark rum. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this cocktail, but found it delicious. The sweetness from the lime and ginger beer is the first flavor you notice, followed quickly by the darkness of the rum. Those that enjoy bourbon or whiskey drinks and are looking for a cocktail that isn’t too sweet should give this one a try.
My husband ordered his signature vodka martini – dirty so that he could compare. He was happy with the outcome and commented on the nice balance of olive juice, something that is easy to make too light or too heavy.
Overall, I found the Foggy Goggle Restaurant in East Burke charming. The building’s life as a former home shines through in the size and arrangements of rooms. Keeping true to that floor plan allows each space to be more cozy – like you are dining at a friend’s home. The attention to detail and flavor profiles makes each dish a treat with something a little unexpected to make note of.
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