Girl & The Goat
809 West Randolph Street
Date of Last Visit: Monday, November 22nd, 2010. AT 4:30 PM!
The Victims: Christina, Kent
The Damage: $60ish each?
The Background: During my first few months in Chicago, the question I got most was not “What’s it like to be back?” but rather “Have you been to Girl & The Goat yet?” Sigh. I hadn’t.
Heck, even my fellow London food blogger Meemalee had been, and she doesn’t even live in Chicago!
Truth be told, I had no idea who Stephanie Izard is and I am not one of those sorts of bloggers who is going to spend my first few paragraphs telling you all about Ms. Izard as if I’ve known her work for years. That’s what Wikipedia is for. I just knew that she was somewhat famous and that her Girl & The Goat was one of Chicago’s most talked about new restaurant openings.
I knew I had to make a booking quick once Girl & The Goat won a Bib Gourmand. Alas, I still feel like I left it too late because my only chance of a booking was 4:45 pm on a Tuesday, or 4:30 pm on a Monday. As I was heading to Florida for Thanksgiving on Tuesday, Monday it was.
Girl & The Goat is a big place. Much bigger than what I expected. I don’t know…I hear small plates and charcuterie and I think small place. Not so. We’re also the first people to arrive and can’t take our table because they’re still setting up. We’re shown to a cozy corner and are offered the wine list. I go with Stephanie’s own Chardonnay. It needed food, so I was glad we were able to sit just seconds after our drinks arrived.
For a Chicago menu, Girl & The Goat boasts an interesting one. There is, for example, beef tongue on the menu. There are more vegetable choices on the menu than I’ve seen on a restaurant menu in a while. And there’s pig face. Yes, pig face.
Sadly, you can’t see the pigface is this picture. It’s there, under the egg. But let me assure you, it was a very very crispy pig face indeed. Crispy, fatty, and succulent. I was ready for seconds. Thirds, even. And you really couldn’t tell you were eating a face.
Sadly, this is all they would tell us.
We took our server’s recommendation on the chickpea fritters, and we were super glad we did. This was billed as being served with hazelnut hummus, but the hazelnut was definitely a light touch. What I believe was a sesame dressing was more present. I’d never considered frying chickpeas to a nice golden-y crisp before, but this dish gave me all sorts of ideas.
Not all was pleasing, however. Girl & The Goat has a small specials menu each night, and on the night we were there, they were offering some sort of lamb tacos with mole sauce. Never ones to turn down a good mole, we went for it. This was a dark and dry dish that was in desperate need of something light and bright to perk it up. I also wasn’t a fan of the lamb sausage stuffed calamari. Too much going on for me. Three out of five really excellent dishes ain’t bad, though.
The Service: Loved our server. Knowledgeable, friendly, and what good American service is all about. The world needs more of her.
The Verdict: I’d come back here to try more things. They’ve got a good thing going…true flashes of brilliance. Hard to book a table though so will require some planning ahead. But apparently, you can eat at the bar…