Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Restaurant Review: Girl & the Goat

I'm a HUGE fan of Top Chef.  I've loved the show since the beginning. 

Season Four was a tough season.  I loved Stephanie Izard and she totally deserved to win, but I loved Richard Blais as well and was just as psyched when he won Top Chef Masters.

But, when I heard about Stephanie's restaurant called Girl & the Goat located in the West Loop area of Chicago about a mile from our hotel, I knew we had to go there.  Unfortunately when I tried to make a reservation online, Open Table told me they were booked solid for 8 weeks.  So I called.  And was told that if I got there at 4:30pm we'd have no problem walking right in.  So we arrived at 4:25pm and waited until the doors opened.  And we weren't the only ones.  By 5pm on a random Tuesday night (late afternoon?) this place was bumping.  Does the midwest like to eat early or is this place always so busy?  I'm going to go with the latter.

The atmosphere is really cool; exposed ceilings, open bar, kitchen and windows and comfortable seating.
I enjoyed the fun artwork- see- Girl and her Goat. : )
This logo was on all of the waitstaff's shirts and on our check.  It was pretty cute.
Speaking of waitstaff, our waiter (s) were awesome!  Very attentive and answered all of our questions.  She knew everything about the dishes.

The menu is set up in three different categories.  V, F and M.  V for Vegetarian, F for Fish, M for Meat.  Now that doesn't mean that all the Vegetarian dishes are meatfree, it just means that the star of the dish is vegetables.  Same goes for the others.  So naturally we ordered 1 V dish, 1 F dish and two M dishes : )  Our waitress told us to order 2-3 dishes per person.  We ordered 4 dishes plus bread and trust me it was enough!  We were super full!
First up, we ordered the Culture Club- homemade bread with homemade butter and beer cheese sauce.
The butter was amazing and the cheese sauce was insanely addicting.  Maybe this is a reason I got so full so quick : )  The bread was served hot and we savored every delicious bite.
Next up we ordered the squash blossom rangoon.  Did you guys know that my ultimate favorite bad-for-you-food is Crab Rangoons?  I'm completely addicted and in love with those fried little guys.  So when I saw a take on crab rangoons in the form of squash blossoms, I had to try them.  And let me just tell you, these were so unique and delicious!
The presentation was gorgeous as well.  Served on a plank with some chive yogurt sauce with fried squash blossoms filled with a creamy crab filling and topped with almonds and mint.
Aren't they gorgeous?  
In between dishes, I stalked Stephanie who had her back to me all night.  I wish I had balls and asked for a photo, but I just couldn't do it.  Stephanie finessed each dish before it went out to the patron.  She seemed very much involved in every plate.
Our next dish was a F (fish) dish.  Stephanie plays a lot on sweet and salty and this skate did just that.
This Hawaiian fish (I was pretty sure it was skate but maybe I'm wrong?) was light and flaky.  The sweet broccoli rabe over a sweet nectarine kimchee sauce was the base of this dish and the topping was sauteed dandelion greens and caper brown butter.  This dish definitely stood out.
I think Stephanie has a common thread in most of her dishes- she loves the sweet paired with the salty.
This theme I saw again in our next dish which was easily my favorite of the evening.  I've even tried to recreate it myself since I've been home (with little success).  This was a goat chorizo flatbread with eggplant and roasted red pepper sauce, green tomatoes, apples and fresh ricotta.
It was the epitome of sweet, salty and spicy.  The whole thing was so well balanced that Dave and I were fighting over each delicious bite. The goat chorizo was so incredibly spicy but the matchstick sized apples complimented it well.
The last dish we ordered was the Wood Oven Roasted Pig Face.  Yes you heard me correctly. I'm really not even sure what pig face is but it was served as a pieced together patty with potato sticks and a runny egg on top.  Is there anything better than a runny egg?
The sauce was two fold- one was a tamarind sauce and the other was cilantro oil.  Both complimented the dish very well.  Now for some action shots of the cracking the runny egg!
It really did feel like we were eating the best hangover breakfast money could buy.  Worth every delicious bite. This is one of their signature dishes and our waitress told us we must order it : )

Unfortunately, after so much food, we were unable to order dessert since we were so incredibly full.  But check out their dessert list!
The Pork Fat doughnuts definitely intrigued me.  Next time.

If you are in or visiting Chicago stop by Girl and the Goat.  It is so worth it!  I loved the atmosphere, the service and most importantly, the food was so unique and outstanding. 
 I highly recommend checking it out : )

Have you ever been to a Top Chef's restaurant?


  1. All that food looks awesome and I really like the decor. Very chill but nice-looking.

    I loved that season and I, too, was a Richard fan.

    ALSO I like that she was actually at the restaurant and involved in the dishes while you were there. I feel like usually once chefs get famous they open a restaurant but then they're MIA doing other projects. Which is fine. But if I'm at their place, I want a sighting!

    Glad you enjoyed the yummy food. Mad you didn't bring any to me in NYC. How rude.

  2. I need to go to Chicago now! All the food looks so amazing. Especially the squash rangoon!

  3. This was on our list but we did not make it! Next time I will definitely have to try it out - great review!

  4. This restaurant looks fabulous! I love going to Chicago and trying new restaurants. Maybe this one will need to go on my list for my next trip down. :)

  5. She was my favorite on her original season! I think she was the first woman to win. That food looks amazing. I've only been to Spike's burger joint in DC.

  6. oh.my.golly. i want that flatbread!!! i had the same feelings re: stephanie and richard :)

  7. I would kill for that flatbread. In related news, I'm glad I visited your blog in the afternoon instead of the morning. I'm off to recreate a version of that flatbread for a snack. Much more acceptable during the p.m. hours ;)

  8. I think I started salivating at the bread and butter! Never been to a top chef restaurant, would probably be really fun.

  9. I looove Top Chef! That looks like a great restaurant - I liked Stephanie but must agree in that I'm a big Richard fan. So cool that she was there. One of my favorite restaurants in NYC is Perilla, which is Harold's restaurant - he won season 1. Delicious food and great atmosphere.

  10. Wow... the desserts sound good. Your dinner looks awesome! And the atmosphere in there looks very cool. I've never been to Chicago.

  11. Oh wow, everything looks delicious. I've been to Fabio's restaurant Cafe Firenze several times and it's always delicious.

  12. Oh My Goodness this looks amazing! I didn't watch her season of Top Chef, but she is definitely one talented chef!

  13. OMG - this place looks incredible. I'm ready to fly to Chicago just for it.
    PS - Richard won Top Chef All-Stars ;) I'm such a TC geek... bringing back cable so I can start watching as soon as season 9 is out! :)

  14. I've read about Girl and the Goat!!!! It all looks amazing. I'd be happy with just that bread and butter

  15. I'm so jealous you went to Chicago - love that city!! I'm so glad Stephanie's restaurant was delicious - I'd love to go!

  16. Ha! I love that you waited outside before the doors opened just go to there. And I'm even more glad that it was amazing! I've been to Chicago twice since it opened and still haven't been. I gotta get there!

  17. I loved reading your recap since I went a few months (maybe a year) ago and loved, loved, loved it. I'm guessing the pig face was either pork cheeks or jowl?

    And p.s. I'm such a stalker. I pestered her for a picture but she was surprisingly nice and warm and didn't mind at all so if you go back you definitely should too.

  18. I heard about Girl & the Goat a few weeks after a trip to Chicago. Unfair!

    But, I have been to a couple other Top Chef restaurants: Brownstone (http://www.brownstonerestaurants.com/; Casey Thompson's place in Fort Worth) and R Gang Eatery (http://rgangeatery.com/; Richard Sweeney's place in San Diego). I'd love to go to Spike's or Richard B.'s burger places.

  19. phenomenal review! I must eat here someday! I have been to Jax (Hosea's restaurant) in Boulder and i loved it. :)