The Girl and the Goat Restaurant Review
Last year, I made my United States restaurant bucket list and one of the places on it was Chicago chef Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat. I knew it was an extremely popular spot and so once my Chicago trip plans were finalized, I called to make a reservation. (Definitely call as opposed to making a reservation on OpenTable since OpenTable only allows reservations three months in advance, while calling you can do earlier.)
We dined at the Girl and the Goat after seeing a matinee of Hamilton. I had made a reservation for 6PM since I knew the show was long and I wasn’t sure how long or easy it would be to get a taxi from the theater to the restaurant. Well, unlike in Pittsburgh where sometimes it seems to take forever to exit the theater, we got out quickly and got a taxi even quicker. So the only negative of the meal was our arriving at the restaurant almost 45 minutes before our reservation and then having to wait, standing around the whole time. There were never any free spaces at the bar and it rained that whole day, so we couldn’t really wander around either. My one critique is that there did seem to be a few tables that were ultimately filled by people, yet their reservation times seemed off (i.e. being seated at 13 minutes till the hour etc). We weren’t a large group, just two people, so I did find it tacky we had to wait that entire time. Thankfully, the meal made up for this slight unpleasantness.
For drinks, I went with the Best of Three (Kettle One Vodka, Pimms #1, cucumber and lime) and D ordered the Very Old Fashioned (J. Henry Blind Goat Bourbon, Rittenhouse Rye, Demerara, and Angostura). I can highly recommend mine and D’s, who adores Old Fashions, as well.
Girl and the Goat is a small plates place (my favorite type anymore, especially when traveling) and our waiter recommended ordering between five and six plates. The menu itself comprises six sections (vegetables, fish, meat, bread, oysters, and goats-yes goats-the name isn’t just for fun). I will detail the dishes we ordered below. They came at a nice pace (i.e. not everything all at once or long waits between them either).
Roasted Cauliflower with Pickled Peppers, Pine Nuts, and Mint
Just like Brussels sprouts, I feel that cauliflower is often regarded with disdain in the culinary world, but here at a hip restaurant, you have it jazzed up in a most delicious manner since cauliflower on its own is pretty bland. I really liked the inclusion of the mint.
Potato Blue Cheese Pierogi with Mushroom Crema, Pickled Persimmon-apple Relish, and Maitake Mushroom
One musn’t forget that Chicago welcomed thousands of Polish immigrants back in the day and yes, their culinary influence remains. These amazing pierogi might have been my favorite item of what we tried. I’m not really a fan of blue cheese but I feel the relish toned down the taste.
Chorizo Flatbread with Lard, Rapini Relish, Compressed Apples, and Rosemary
D loves chorizo while personally I’m pretty blase on it. But this was a dish he really wanted to order. For me, it was my least favorite probably due to the fact that of the dishes we tried, this was the most ordinary.
Seared Diver Scallops, Jamaican Jerk Spice, Guinciale, Pink Ladies, Crispy Pigeon Peas and Rice
I don’t eat scallops that often so the times I do, they truly taste divine and the seared divers at G & T G were no exception. And even though Jamaica Jerk spice has the reputation of being quite searing, this was tolerably so. It just really enhanced the flavor of the scallops.
Unfortunately I didn’t write down the goat dish we ordered and naturally the menu on the website didn’t match the menu we had in person. But all I can say is it was delicious and was made even better by the eggplant puree. And goat tasted a lot like ground lamb.
Caramel Corn and Malt Balls (Vanilla Malt Ice Cream, Popcorn Caramel, and Chocolate Magic Shell)
So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a dessert that would have caramel corn and malt balls (it seemed more suited to a movie theater) but of course, it was perfect and innovative. It harkens you back to your youth and yet still leaves you feeling sinfully sated.
The entire time we were dining, the restaurant was busy and mildly chaotic; it’s a large space and quite noisy. But it was definitely a meal to remember. It made me happy that this year I made it to not one but two restaurants on my bucket list and both lived up to my expectations.
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