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Photos By Nicholas Karlin, Words By Norm Quarrinton

As U Street continues to bolster its reputation as the go-to hub for D.C. foodies, our friends at the casually classy Fainting Goat are making a few summer inspired changes to their menu. Several American classics will be added to the kitchen’s already solid repertoire, as well as an overhauled, seasonally appropriate cocktail menu. This week, Chef Beauchamp unveiled a mouthwatering fried chicken main course, some exciting new side dishes, and a charmingly unique desert.

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In typical D.C.-dinner fashion, we were plied with boozy cocktails as soon as we were seated. First up was the Mesquite, a rather original “morphing cocktail” that tasted slightly different with each sip. As an accompaniment, we were given a few plates some very tasty pickles, as well as peel n’ eat shrimp with house made chilli butter and cocktail sauce–I’m not really into shrimp, but everyone else seemed thoroughly enamoured. The sauces were very flavourful, and almost had me lamenting my indifference to the little pink mollusks.

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Next up was the divinely crispy jewel of the evening: Chef Beuchamp’s fried chicken extravaganza. This was legitimately the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. It was everything you want fried chicken to be and more. Tender and succulent, with the perfect amount of satisfying crunch. The chicken was joined by two sides–a fancy poppy seed coleslaw, and a delightful three-cheese mac n’ cheese, made with cheddar, Gouda, and American–the three cheeses complimented each other perfectly, and gave the macaroni a rich and smoky flavor. All of these dishes were so good, that I demanded every uneaten portion be boxed up so that I could prolong my state of poultry induced pleasure. Before the end of our main course we were presented with another new cocktail–the summery BB Tiki, which was refreshingly sweet, creamy, and wonderful to gaze upon.

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Our evening came to close with the Strawberry Pretzel Salad, an exquisite dessert that reminded me of an English trifle, although it seems unfair to compare to something so bog-standard. Chef Beauchamp’s inspiration for this dish was an old family recipe, and I am eternally grateful that he chose to share it with us.

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There are few more dishes on the way from Chef Beauchamp and the team at the Fainting Goat, which they will be rolling out incrementally over the course of the summer. If this first new addition is any indication, D.C. foodies are in for a treat. Oh, and if you’re worrying about whether or not the bill’s going to make you wince–worry no more–everything is reasonably priced–even the cocktails.

Picnics at the Goat continue July 11 with BBQ spare ribs, August 1 with blue crabs and September 12 with lobster boil.

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