Girl and the Goat

girl and the goat, chicago dining, James Beard award winner, Stephanie Izard

Before traveling to Chicago earlier this month, I sent a tweet asking for suggestions on where I should chow while visiting the Windy City. I was happy to receive several responses with suggestions for casual and fine-dining: iconic Chicago restaurants (The Pump Room),  celebrity chef  names (Frontera Grill), wine bar restos (Bin 36) and, of course, Chicago pizza – with Malnati’s being the favorite. But one place with a quirky name kept coming up:  Girl and the Goat. Intrigued by the name, I did a bit of online research: highly praised restaurant of Chef Stephanie Izard – wild-haired winner of Top Chef Season 4, immediately contacted my friend Alison who still lives in the area, and lined up a date to have dinner at Girl and the Goat in the West Loop.

There were no reservations to be had until October, but reviews noted that it was possible to snag a table or seat at the bar if you arrived by 5:30, and their website, injected with a healthy dose of wit, states that they “accept reservations but always keep tables open for walk-ins, nomads, adventurers and those who don’t like to plan :-)  I was instantly infatuated. Alison and I planned to arrive at 4:30 p.m. when they open. We hadn’t even made a selection from the extensive wine, craft beer, and refreshingly unique signature cocktail list (read – not martini centric) before we were greeted by a friendly hostess who led us to a table, and one by the window no less.

The menu is divided into vegetables, fish, and meats; all small plates with ingredients sourced from the local farmers they support, which are listed at the bottom of the menu. Our server Jodi, cheerfully described the specials, got a feel for what we liked, offered suggestions  and described them in detail.  Each dish surprised us with layers of flavor, meticulously executed, complicated yet unpretentious – the meal was definitely the pièce de résistance of my trip to Chicago.

Sleight of Hand cocktail:  Hayman’s Old Tom Gin. Apricot Eau di Vie. Lemon. Basil

The plates were paced well and are served from light to heavier fare.

Seared scallops: smoked goat. spiced cantaloupe. coconut-cucumber salad

Fried soft shell crab:  sweet corn elote. chili aioli

Chickpea fritters: eggplant-tomatillo caponata. Crave Brother’s mozzarella

Sauteed skate wing: broccoli-nectarine kimchee. dandy greens. caper brown butter

Smoked goat rillette empanadas: tuna aioli. celery. tomato salad

Wood oven roasted pig face: sunny side egg. tamarind. cilantro. potato stix

Of course, you must try goat. There’s a separate mini menu of the bread, oyster, and goat specials of the day. The smoked goat rilette empanadas was a special and the earthy, smokiness of the shredded goat meat filling was reminiscent of Hawaiian kalua pig, and perfectly balanced with the crisp acidity of the tomatoes and creamy, saltiness of the tuna aioli. The Pig Face is not to be missed – like sausage and eggs x 100: sweet, savory, crispy sensation with maple gastrique and tomatillo for a herbaceous note, and has become a signature dish on their main menu.

By the time we arrived at dessert – we contemplated skipping, but had to try the pork fat doughnuts (with honey yogurt, caramelized figs, lemony eggplant and ham streusel!). The restaurant was bustling with diners of all ages who were happy to be there and not disgruntled in the least to wait to dine with the Girl and the Goat.  The small plates menu with pricing ranging from $4 to $23, makes it accessible to many and quite affordable, considering the food delivers high-end quality in a down-to-earth fashion, excellent service, and convivial atmosphere.  Stephanie Izard deserves all the praise : 3 stars, four stars, dubbed American’s best new restaurant by Saveur in their first restaurant review, coming her way since opening Girl and the Goat in the summer of 2010. Next time I’m in Chicago, I’m definitely returning to try more of their deliciously eclectic menu. And you need to try it yourself, if you ever find yourself in Chi-town!

Girl and the Goat

809 W Randolph St.

Chicago IL, 60607  ·  (312) 492-6262

19 Responses to “Girl and the Goat”

  1. ray August 30 at 3:43 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this delicious menu from Girl and the Goat. They look amazing and I like the scallops and the sunny side up.

    • Priscilla August 31 at 9:54 am #

      Thanks Ray! There really wasn’t a weak dish, but the Pig Face steals the show!

  2. Laz August 30 at 8:00 pm #

    Fantastic photos and well-written review. The food looks really refined.

    Well done.

    • Priscilla August 31 at 9:56 am #

      Thanks, Laz! I let the photos speak for the food. I think you would really like the fare at the Girl and the Goat.

  3. Angie's Recipes August 31 at 12:48 am #

    A fair written review of girl and the goat. Skate wing looks terrific.

    • Priscilla August 31 at 9:57 am #

      Hi, Angie! I don’t really consider myself a reviewer – I only write about good experiences and most often let the photos tell the story!

  4. Sandra's Easy Cooking August 31 at 10:51 am #

    You wrote very professional review, and I did enjoy all your photos and reading about it!! Thank you for sharing dear, and have a wonderful day!

  5. RavieNomNoms August 31 at 12:18 pm #

    This looks like SUCH a great time! Look at all that delicious food. You always go to the most amazing places. I must admit I am a little jealous 😉

    Hope you are having a great week Priscilla!

  6. Magic of Spice August 31 at 12:30 pm #

    I love the menu design! Everything looks fabulous and what a name, I would have been intrigued as well :)
    Excellent review!

  7. Lori Lynn August 31 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi Priscilla- I am so excited to see this post! Stephanie Izard cooked for us at my brother’s home in Chicago a couple years ago. We are her biggest fans. Here’s a link if you want to take a peek:
    Your photos are great, they do her awesome food justice!
    She is so creative, I love how she combines foods that no one has paired before.

  8. Liz August 31 at 1:13 pm #

    Rats! I wish I knew to show up at 4:30 to snag a table. We were in Chicago in May and I tried to get a reservation a month in advance…but they were booked. What a fabulous meal…such delicious creativity! Thanks for sharing your evening with us~

  9. patty August 31 at 2:21 pm #

    Hi Priscilla! Can’t wait to have lunch with you because I have this feeling you know how to do it right;-) Looks like a wonderful time at the girl and the goat;-) I have a friend who has the girl and the fig in Sonoma, a restaurant you might want to visit!

  10. Lindsey@Lindselicious August 31 at 6:23 pm #

    Oh all that stuff you guys got looks so good! I love Chi town, so fun, people are so nice and great food!

  11. Trix September 1 at 7:14 am #

    I have read about this place, and if I ever go to Chicago it’s on my short list for sure, along with Frontera Grill. Really enjoyed all the photos of the dishes in this post – so glad you made it there!!

  12. Kathryn | Dramatic Pancake September 1 at 9:10 am #

    Just stumbled on your website and am so happy to see Girl and the Goat on here! I live in Chicago and was finally able to get in for dinner a few weeks ago- what a fabulous place. And you have a gorgeous blog :)

  13. kita September 2 at 6:58 pm #

    How lucky that you got to try out that restaurant! I would be thrilled to go there!!

  14. Emily @ Life on Food September 3 at 2:43 pm #

    I am going to Chicago in October. I heard this restaurant mentions a few times as well. Your pictures have me sold. So glad I found this write up!

    • Priscilla September 6 at 12:53 pm #

      Hi Emily! I’m glad my write up and photos sold you on Girl and the Goat – you won’t be disappointed :-)

  15. Monet September 5 at 8:36 pm #

    I have heard of this restaurant many times…and I’m so glad to see that you were able to visit and enjoy a meal! Thank you for sharing with me, my sweet friend. I hope you are having a blessed start to this week. I know I’m smiling a bit wider after visiting you tonight. Much love from Austin!

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