Girl & The Goat

I don’t think any other restaurant has as much hype as this place.  I don’t think any other restaurant has as crazy a waitlist as this place either!  Yelpers say you need to snag a reservation at least 2-3 months in advance, which is what I managed to.  Buff Bear, now a Chicago resident, said my 8:45 Monday night reservation was a great achievement.  I think he’s only been able to eat there even later.  I guess being the restaurant of Top Chef season 4 winner, Stephanie Izard, has a lot to do with all the hype.  I personally was pretty bummed that she beat out Richard Blais to win, but good thing he ended up winning the All Stars season.
Anyways, the space is pretty large with darks and neutrals coloring the interior.  This large painting really stands out, obviously, and brightens up the joint.  The large googly eyes kinda creeps me out but I love the vibrant colors.  See Fat Gwai, a poor student, took an hour train to meet us here, in the rain no less, so Dumpling Man and I treated him to a dinner here.  After all those years of being poor and having others pay my way, it’s nice to do the same for someone else now.

Kohlrabi Salad fennel, evalon, pears, roasted shiitakes, toasted almonds, ginger dressing 

I love eating salads when I go out because someone it’s always so much more interesting than the sh*t you get at the local salad bar.  Kohlrabi and pears were definite flavor and textural highlights here.  The almonds added nice crunch too.

Mushroom Ragout sweet potato agnolotti, shroom creme fraiche, capers

Triple F thought the food here was a bit heavy handed with the salt.  The 3 of us argued about the salt level of this dish.  I thought it was on the saltier side, but Dumpling Man thought the salt level was off the chart.  Aside from that, I was intrigued by the flavor profile, which I can’t really pin down.  It had a creaminess and tomatoey-ness that reminded me of chicken tikka masala.  The capers didn’t help with the salt level.  The dish packed a punch of flavor, but maybe too much so?


Diver Scallops foie gras vinaigrette, klug plums, sweet onion, brioche crouton

Here was another salty dish due to the scallops.  Still though the plums, onions, and vinaigrette did a fine job tempering the inherent salinity of these sea creatures.











Sugo pappardelle, rosemary, gooseberries

This was probably one of the more “normal” dishes.  Everyone has had a good meat sauce pasta, and this certainly fit the bill.  The meat was so tender, the pasta was a perfect all dente.  I guess the gooseberries was something unusual, adding a bit of sweet tartness which did temper the salt level here.  See Fat Gwai really liked the sugo.











Braised Beef Tongue masa, beef vinaigrette, salsa verde
Dumpling Man picked this as his favorite dish.  The dish had so many dimensions of flavor and texture, which I really appreciate in food.  The very tender tongue contrasted nicely with the soft crunch of the taco shell.  The tart pickled onions worked well with the herby salsa verde.  A lot of originality here.










Kalbi Ribs corn coblettes, charred okra

I had higher hopes for this dish, but See Fat Gwai had better ribs in Ktown.  I thought the ribs would be reinterpreted somehow, but they weren’t.  I liked that they weren’t super sweet like kalbi can sometimes be.  The okra was slimey as okra always is.  The corn was my favorite component bring a sweet char that I liked.











Wood Oven Roasted Pig Face sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine-maple, potato stix

Another highly anticipated dish, the pig face didn’t taste much like a pig face at all.  It was two crispy, fatty meat circles made from parts of a pigs face, no joke.  I don’t know why everyone goes gaga for this but I wasn’t as impressed.  Greasy and dry at the same time?











Sauteed Green Beans fish sauce vinaigrette, cashews

I had some kickass fishy green beans at MB Post so I was hoping for something similar.  Chef Izard’s version certainly brought the fishiness, but I just wished they weren’t as cooked.  I love crispy almost undercooked vegetables and these were just too soft.  I loved the char though and the crunch from the nuts.

Bittersweet Chocolate toffee, shiitake-caramel gelato, shiitake gastrique

This was my first time eating with See Fat Gwai, excluding Portillo’s since that was just snacking.  I learned that he’s essentially a bottomless pit.  While Dumpling Man and I were pretty full, See Fat Gwai could have kept going and going, but we had to draw the line somewhere and decided to move on with dessert.  I don’t think I tasted much of the shiitake flavors here, but it was a good chocolate sweet finish.











Goat Cheese Bavarois blueberry, brown sugar cake

The goat cheese was too overwhelming cheesy here, but I really liked the brown sugar cake at the bottom.  It was rustic and sweet.  Ironically, this was the only thing from a goat we had that night.











I was pretty happy with my meal here despite some minor disappointments and some slightly over salted food.  Izard is definitely doing some fun original things here and that is really what I look forward to in food these days.  What baffles me is that the reservation wait here is insane.  The only place which I’ve struggled so hard for a reservation is the French Laundry.  Even though I’ve never been to the French Laundry, I can say that Girl & The Goat is probably no French Laundry.  Either way, if you’re in Chicago, it’s definitely a place worth visiting, but don’t break your back over it.


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