Long Live the Goat
By David Esteppe
It has been 10 weeks since proprietors Debbie Porter and Arthur Forgette opened an additional venue of world class cuisine in Lewisburg, the small town that has become a destination dining mecca.
Forgette is a life-long restaurateur, who has owned a restaurant in South Beach, Miami and worked for large and small companies in various capacities. Forgette says, “We chose French for Lewisburg because we really love French food and French wine, and the French bistro atmosphere that is so cozy and relaxed.”
While perusing Lewisburg for their new venue, the couple discovered the location, formerly Stella’s, and fell in love. “It is the perfect combination of old and comfortable, and the garden really sets it apart from other places in town,” says Porter, of the Lafayette Street space.
After a long search for a world class French chef, The French Goat found Certified Master Chef Fred Raynaud on Linkedln. They had several conversations, met in person a couple of times, and once Raynaud and his wife had been bitten by the Lewisburg bug, all was settled.
The buzz around the new restaurant is well-deserved. Among the list of exciting elements The Goat (the nickname that has caught on rapidly) has pulled off blending a southern traditional hushpuppy with a very French nuance. “Poireau Sauvage et Hushpuppies Escargot” is the talk of the town. Forgette says The Goat plans to expand on the hushpuppy’s success and swap out the escargot for a different flavor at times.
Additionally, while weather permits now and continuing this coming spring, The Goat has brought “un cinq a’sept” to town. Ok, we call it HappyHour, but it sounds more like a must-do in French, especially in that garden with gourmet cocktails and martinis. In the spring, they plan to add lights and music to transport us to a little French side street.
In grasping that Lewisburg has a passionate theater crowd, they have presented the “Pre-Theatre Menu” for $35 per person on Wednesday evenings. You will find choices including Soupe a’ l’Oignon (French onion soup with gruyere and reggiano cheese), Confit de Canard “Viet” (sesame ginger duck confit with glass noodles and baby bok choy), and dessert such as Maple Pot du Cre’me (maple custard pot, candied pecans and bourbon Chantilly cream).
The French Goat Inaugural Wine Dinner is all set to happen on Wednesday, November 11, with a 6:30 p.m. reception and dinner at 7 p.m.
The featured guest for the wine dinner is Eric Bonnet, family winemaker for La Bastide Saint-Dominique, located in Chateauneuf du Pape, France. Eric is the second generation winemaker for the family estate that was founded by his parents Marie and Claude Bonnet in 1976.
The inaugural wine dinner is a six-course meal with each course accompanied by a chosen wine from the guest’s estate in France.
Forgette and Porter are excited for people to know that they are building a family with their guests, diners and farmers in our community. Their favorite moments are “every night when we pull off delighting our new friends who come into the restaurant to eat at a table, the bar or even just a bowl of soup on the patio or in the garden.”
As for the wine dinner, at press time, I am taking the last seat available. Lucky me!
However, the good news is you may call The Goat at 304-647-1052 to make reservations for the next one. If you didn’t get to this event in time, the idea is to offer a wine dinner of this caliber every six to eight weeks.