Girl & the Goat

 July 31, 2012

809 W. Randolph Street Chicago, IL | www.girlandthegoat.com

I recently indulged in a culinary adventure to nearby Chicago. Although my primary interest in the trip was to eat my way through my first handful of Michelin rated establishments, there was also time to check out a couple of other hot dining locations in the city. Girl & the Goat, a relatively new restaurant headed up by Top Chef season 4 winner Stephanie Izard, has been the subject of many recent accolades and praise. Armed with a reservation (very highly recommended), we headed down to the Randolph corridor late one night to see what a “Top Chef” could do.

The interior of Girl & the Goat is very inviting and intimate, despite being a very crowded restaurant. The noise level is high but in a positively bustling sort of way. When we arrived at about 10:30pm there were several walk-in hopefuls who were turned away. We luckily had reservations and were seated shortly after arriving at a large booth table toward the rear of the restaurant. We had initially intended for this to be a sort of post-dinner sampling of food (we had just finished a 10-course meal at Schwa hours earlier), but the menu items piqued our interest such that we ended up having “dinner round 2″.

Pretzel Bread – Fresh baked pretzel bread loaf, mustard, butter

Freshly baked breads are offered each night with varying condiments. The pretzel bread we ordered was chewy and very savory, much like fresh baked pretzel should be.

Crispy Duck Tongues – Cara cara, roasted shiitake, Thai basil, crisp wonton

I’ve had many dishes with tongue before, but this was the first with duck tongues. The tongues were wonderfully crispy with just a slight chewiness. The meaty flavor of the tongue and shiitake went well with the brighter flavor of the Thai basil and cara cara.

Goat Liver Mousse – Pickled rhubarb, blackberry mustarda, crumpets

One of my favorite dishes of my two day eating tour of Chicago was this seemingly simple presentation of crumpets and goat liver mousse. The mousse was so rich, flavorful, and creamy that you couldn’t help but smother each crumpet with as much as they could handle. The pickled sides helped to cut through the rich fattiness of the mousse.

Sautéed Skate – Sunchoke, ruby red grapefruit, olive, crisp lentils

The skate in this dish was delicate and flaky with just a touch of crispiness on the outer edges. The sweet flavor of the skate was offset with bright citrus and tangy flavors from the olives and grapefruit. The lentils and sunchoke contributed a more earthy flavor tone to the finish of each bite.

Hen of the Woods Mushroom Ragout – Sweet potato, agnolotti, creme fraiche, capers

Perhaps the only miss in an otherwise delightful meal, we found this ragout to be very rich. The dish seemed overwhelmed with rich creaminess, to the point where the capers and mushrooms could not offset. I enjoyed the mushrooms individually with the agnolotti, but as a whole dish it was perhaps too heavy.

Confit Goat Belly – Bourbon butter, lobster, crab, fennel

Our final plate of the night featured the luscious fattiness of goat belly along with the sweetness of seafood. The fennel added a welcomed freshness to the plate.

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It’s self-evident that the Girl & the Goat enjoys much success and a steady clientele of hungry diners looking for exciting, flavorful cuisine in a bustling environment. While the restaurant is clearly busy I did not feel that the noise or crowd of other patrons detracted from our experience. The menu here is certainly varied and offers the chance to try ingredients that are seldom seen. I am happy to have had the opportunity to dine here. Although opportunities to be in Chicago are seldom, the Girl & the Goat will certainly be a place to revisit when I do return, even if only to have the goat liver mousse again.

Girl & The Goat
809 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607-2310
Phone: 312.492.6262

Girl & the Goat on Urbanspoon

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