In a town where things shut down pretty early, and it can be hard to get a decent burger after 10pm, Goose & Gander is a welcome addition to downtown St. Helena. They call themselves a "wine country public house," and their food matches the "come, gather, eat, drink and be merry" vibe. With charcuterie, cheeses, thoughtfully composed salads (think Berkshire pork belly "wedge" with Shaft's blue cheese dressing and heirloom radishes, not some spinach leaves with goat cheese and dried cranberries) and a rather outrageous burger served with duck fat fries, there's some delicious eating to be had.
Goose & Gander — Photo courtesy of Goose & Gander
The cocktails should almost be applauded more than the food. The proprietors know good drinking is important in such a gathering place. Their Scarlett Gander is a favorite, with herbal and earthy notes from ginger, galangal, mint and shiso. Their Walter's Manhattan is also a highly drinkable interpretation of the classic.
Pouring a drink — Photo courtesy of Goose & Gander
With such good food and drink, it's easy to slide into a dark leather banquette with a group of friends and chat away the night. Their dark wood paneled bar adds something nice and coolly comforting to St. Helena's pretty little downtown strip. It's even nicer that they don't kick you out when the clock strikes midnight.