2725 SE Ankeny St
Dinners served Tues. – Sat. 5 – 10 pm Open late Fri. and Sat.
The decor, menu and name has changed a couple of times since 1930s, but The Goose still offers a welcoming atmosphere that has made this a popular neighborhood restaurant and bar. New owner Kristine Craine was looking for the opportunity to start her own restaurant and when Joe and Martha Esparza decided to move to Texas permanently, it turned out to be the perfect place and opportunity to fulfill her dream of serving Mexican food with a Portland twist.
Craine was brought up in the restaurant business working at Holman’s next door when she was younger and returning here to work after spending several years living in Nevada. It was while living in Nevada that she developed her passion for the flavors of the southwest. “I fell in love not only with the taste of the food but the whole atmosphere surrounding the dining experience,” she said.
The idea for this restaurant was made possible also because of the participation of Matthew Stauss, the chef, who keeps the behind the scene activities running smoothly. He has been part of the remodel and according to Craine, “the vision for the place turned out better than expected”.
The bar and booths have withstood the test of time. The turquoise tiled counter top remains in place and the wood has been stripped and polished to a fine luster. The new color scheme, lighting, high top tables and backdrop to the bar speak of a more contemporary mood, a warm, urbane southwest theme.
This is the space’s third incarnation. The Blue Goose was first run by a husband and wife team in 1930 who served hard-boiled eggs and beer. Then Esparaza’s brought his original Tex Mex recipes to Portland twenty-five years ago and now The Goose – which gives a nod to both of the former restaurants and adds its own special mojo as well.
The Goose offers starters, large plates and tacos. There’s standard starters like salsa and chips and guacamole salads and then there’s grilled corn on the cob, green chile potatoes, smoked chicken wings, flautas and fritters.
Large plates include stacked enchiladas with smoked chicken and cheese (topped with hatch chile and a fried egg), a green chile cheeseburger, and a brisket plate with pork belly-braised Appaloosa heirloom beans. There’s an wide selection of tacos with different fillings that include: a smoked brisket with corn salsa and hatch chile aioli, carne adovada (a New Mexican pork stew with red chiles), smoked chicken with shaved radish, butternut squash and carne asada (steak) to mention just a few.
Chef Stauss keeps the food flavorful and fresh. All the meat is smoked in-house overnight, the corn tortillas are handmade and salsa is made in batches from scratch. The Goose’s emphasis is on natural heat and smoke to make their recipes unique and distinct.
The drink menus specialize in tequilas and mescal – a smoky form of tequila made from agave – and there are a hundred different types to choose from. The blood orange ginger margarita is a house specialty but the rest of the selections sound tempting too. They feature four seasonal draft beers, Mexican bottles and cans, Day of the Dead craft beers, cider, wine and bottled Mexican beverages.
Craine and chef Stauss’ vision for the place is working out better than they imagined. Old and new customers are frequenting The Goose, people are responding favorably to the menu and coming back for more. When there’s breathing room, Craine plans to expand and create a party/event room in the back of the building.
In the meantime, the doors are open from 5 pm – 10 pm, Tuesday through Saturday and in June will open at 4 pm. This is an adult dining experience for ages twenty-one and older.