The French Goat brings the flavors of France to Lewisburg.
Love French food? Thanks to The French Goat in Lewisburg, there’s no need to buy a plane ticket to Paris to experience delectable French cuisine. Owners Arthur Forgette and Debbie Porter, whose parents were from the area, opened their quaint French bistro a year ago in the 1800s house that had once housed Stella’s Tea House. “Arthur and I love French food and wine. We really liked the whole bistro idea. It also fit a niche here in Lewisburg. We have turned a lot of people onto French cuisine,” Porter says.
The French know how to savor their food, and the ambience of “The Goat,” as locals call it, is comfortable and classic and lends itself to enjoying your company as the meal unfolds. “This venue worked so well. It feels like a small little house in Provence,” says Porter. The outdoor garden terrace is a romantic spot—a perfect place to enjoy al fresco dining or one of their carefully handcrafted cocktails.
The seasonal menu features traditional French fare thoughtfully prepared by Chef Stephen Gustard who, after working for 10 years at The Greenbrier Sporting Club, became head chef in February 2016. “He is a great culinarian—very creative, personable, and popular with the guests,” says Forgette. “Stephen’s all about the flavor and presentation of the food, and he is very accommodating to requests.”
Begin your dining experience with Figues et du Chèvre Mousse—whipped goat cheese and fig with crostini—or Hushpuppies de Prosciutto, which features prosciutto, three-cheese blend, spinach, and roasted garlic aioli. The Escargot Traditionnel—escargot sautéed in garlic butter, parsley, fennel, and served with a grilled baguette—is also popular, as is The French Goat’s classic French onion soup. And as you would expect, the selections of artisan cheeses and charcuterie are unparalleled in the state. “Stephen’s soups are off the charts. He just did a sweet corn bisque. It is unbelievable. We can’t keep the soup of the day,” says Porter.
The entrées are just as engaging. Boeuf Bourguignon includes roasted root vegetables, baby portobello, and potato puree, topped with a bordelaise sauce. Or try the Steak Frites: seared flat iron steak is accompanied by mushroom tomato jus and truffle frites. Poêle Flétan is a pan-seared Alaskan halibut that melts in your mouth and is served with Carolina gold rice, French peas, pickled tomato, asparagus, and a tomato coulis.
Sunday brunch at The Goat is special. Enjoy the quiche of the day or one of the best omelets you’ll ever taste—featuring goat cheese, of course, along with arugula, sundried tomato, shallots, and herbs, served with a potato hash. You will enjoy pronouncing Poitrine de Porc et le Gruau almost as much as you’ll love eating it. This seared pork belly served with poached eggs, Anson Mills cheese grits, and wilted greens will have you making a reservation for the following week. You also can’t go wrong with Thon Niçoise, a traditional dish comprised of seared ahi tuna, haricots verts, hard-boiled egg, fingerlings, radishes, olives, and baby greens, served with a balsamic vinaigrette. Porter recommends the Confit de Canard Benoît. “The duck confit eggs Benedict is legendary, and the Bloody Marie is the best Bloody Mary in town,” says Porter.
Wednesday through Saturday evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. you can enjoy The Goat’s Pre-Theater Menu—three divine courses for only $35—or take advantage of “Wine Down” Wednesdays, when all bottles of wine are half price. Mark your calendar for September 29 when The French Goat will host a five-course French wine dinner with master sommelier Fran Kysela, and another on October 13 will feature wine from the Caymus portfolio. You’ll want to make reservations well in advance. According to Porter, every one of these dinners sells out. Whether you are visiting The Greenbrier, traveling through Lewisburg, or just looking for a great culinary destination, The French Goat will not disappoint. Bon appétit! 111 South Lafayette Street; 304.647.1052; thefrenchgoat.com
written and photographed by Nikki Bowman