After a soft-opening weekend, The Dapper Goose reopens with its full menu tonight, Sept. 7.
Here’s a few clues about what to expect when it reopens at 5 p.m., based on my Saturday night visit. The restaurant, at 491 Amherst St., was formerly Black Rock Kitchen & Bar.
Olean native and owner Keith Raimondi caused a stir in Philadelphia with his beverage program. I sampled three drinks made by bar manager Tim Leary, and enjoyed balanced, updated versions of classic cocktail forms.
Broken Garden Tools ($9) brought celery and green parsley notes to a gin-based garden party livened with a sprinkle of aromatic Moroccan spice. Manzanilla sherry added soothing richness to the house Gibson ($9), with a crispy pearl onion that had me wishing for a relish tray done with the same touch. The Hecklinger ($11) used amaro and Thai spice bitters to coax smooth worldliness from rye whiskey.
Six wines by the glass ($7-9) included two Finger Lakes cabernet franc offerings, a red and a rose.
Dishes that caught my attention included blackened green beans with burnt onion aioli and pepitas ($7). It was a raucous vegetable number, smoky, still-crispy beans in black pepper dust atop spicy aioli sweetened with charred onion.
Cauliflower with Green Goddess dressing ($6) satisfied with deep-fried florets that had taken on a golden french-fry aspect. Dragged through dilly herbal dressing, this was compulsively munchable cauliflower.
Snapper ceviche ($11) with coconut and chiles was surprisingly tame, though undeniably fresh.
Chicken liver mousse with cherry mostarda ($8) was rich and smooth, the cherry compote offering jammy fruit counterpoint.
Another charcuterie offering, country pork pate ($8), was studded with dried cherries and almonds, in a soft bacon wrapper. Sturdy housemade crackers, toasty like pita chips, coarse mustard and pickled onions completed the ensemble.
Esquites ($8), a corn and mushroom saute, served with herb aioli, satisfied with crunchy corn kernels set against tender caramelized mushrooms, livened up with chile powder. Like a few other dishes, it was oversalted, possibly attributable to opening adrenaline.
There are five large plates ($13-$22). My favorite of the ones I tried was the Korean fried chicken ($15, pictured as lead photo).
A big bone-in chicken thigh was crusted more like Southern fried chicken than classic Korean, and doused in a sweet-spicy gochujang sauce with a whisper of sesame oil. It was juicy inside, yet crunchy-edged and piquant. Underneath was kimchi fried rice, not too greasy, and sharp-tongued pickled cucumbers to lighten through the heaviness.
This dish will not be $15 for long, I suspect.
Porchetta ($21), pork belly wrapped around loin and roasted, was well-cooked pork, crispy on the belly without drying out the loin. I wished it had more aromatic stuffing between the layers, and that the sauteed peaches served alongside were fully ripe.
Housemade fettucine with crab, corn and jalapeno ($19) was a luxurious heap of pasta with plentiful chunks of crab and cream, cut by scallions, fresh corn and a lively lick of jalapeno heat. A touch more al dente and it would’ve been perfect.
Desserts included a housemade Rocky Road ice cream with marshmallow and almonds and chocolate. A Concord grape tart ($5) filled a crust shell with jammy deep-purple fruit, made of a seedless Concord variety that tasted like a Concord-blueberry hybrid, with edible skins that added welcome texture.
Buttermilk whipped cream with lime did a better job than regular whipped cream would have of keeping the sweetness from running amok.
It was a promising start for a restaurant with potential. I look forward to returning to see what else The Dapper Goose offers as it locks in its Black Rock groove.
Info: The Dapper Goose, 491 Amherst St., 551-0716. Kitchen hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Bar hours are 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Email Andrew Galarneau at email@example.com