We’ve been to Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat a couple times now, and it never disappoints. This restaurant, located in what I call Chicago’s “restaurant row” (aka W. Randolph), is the ideal place to try out various cuts of goat, lamb and other meats when you can plan 2-3 months ahead. Otherwise, make sure you arrive before the dinner crowd does, and you may get a seat at the bar for drinks and a special bar menu.
Speaking of drinks, Girl and the Goat offers a variety of hearty alcohol that goes along with the rustic yet sophisticated dishes. Just ask your waiter to pair one (or multiple) that will satisfy your tastes.
If there is one item that you cannot overlook here, it is the bread selection. We had the “not Campbell’s bread”, which was matched with a mushroom butter and tomato oil. Fresh out of the oven, this carbilicious item will leave you craving for more, especially more of that mushroom butter…
But I guess we had to move on from our butter obsession sometime… so what better way than to be served a selection of wood-fired east beach blonde oysters with molecular amounts of horseradish (I literally couldn’t taste it), bacon and preserved lemon. I promise you’ll slurp it right up!
Even though this restaurant isn’t known for its seafood, my friends and I were downright impressed. We were presented with a vibrant dish of grill seared ahi tuna with smoked uni cream and pardon pepper-mushroom salad. Wow. You would’ve thought Chicago was a city on the ocean after tasting this.
A couple of other unlikely dishes here are the items geared toward vegetarians. Rarely do meat-centered restaurants serve up healthy veggie dishes that can trump their juicy, tender meats. Girl and the Goat is one of those rare finds. The roasted beets with green beans, white anchovy (these can be left out…), avocado crème fraiche and bread crumbs is the ultimate bowl of color, texture and flavor. Be surprised by the lovely crunch of the bread crumbs!
Since it’s fall, it’s squash season! And they have squash wontons in the perfect mushroom ragout. The wontons themselves are a tad bit flavorless, but the ragout was a burst of creamy mushrooms that you will want to keep spooning up.
And finally to what you are probably waiting for: the meats. One item we had that some Asians probably haven’t even eaten is duck tongue. They looked nothing like tongues, but they were a bit crispy yet tender and paired with a tuna and black bean poke, crispy wontons and piri piri. Definitely recommend for anyone who wants to try something new.
You can also get some of the best lamb ribs in Chicago here. They have a perfect crisp to them on the outside, but biting into them, the infused juices will leave you in absolute awe.
One of the signature dishes here is the wood-oven roasted pig face that is topped with a sunny side egg and garnished with tamarind, cilantro, red-wine maple and potato stix. Mix this all together, and it will look like a birds next that just fell out of a tree, but the hearty, rustic flavors will take over your palate.
At Girl and the Goat, you must get some goat. So we ordered the confit goat belly with bourbon butter, lobster n’ crab and fennel. You think pork belly tastes good? Well, it is nothing compared to thick chunks of goat belly with a nice little seafood mix. Probably not for the weak hearted…
Every decent meal should close with a dessert or two. If you enjoy butterscotch, the miso-butterscotch budino with bacon toffee, glazed pineapple and candied cashews will blow your mind. Otherwise, the apple buckle (which is basically a crumble) has a flawless crunch from the oatmeal graham streusel on top. This warm and cozy dessert is paired with the perfect contrasting agent: a brown butter gelato furnished by Black Dog Gelato. Nothing is overly sweet, and I just adore juxtapositions in my desserts.
- If you want a normal dinner reservation (6-7:30 pm), make sure you make it about 2-3 months in advance. Otherwise, go really early and snatch a seat at the bar.
- Go with a group of friends. Everything is for sharing!