The Girl and the Goat opened with much anticipation in 2010 after chef Stephanie Izard won Top Chef over another heralded chef in Richard Blais.
The Girl and the Goat kept Izard’s momentum going as it was nominated for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Although the restaurant did not win the award that year, Izard did win a James Beard Award for Best Chef Great Lakes in 2013.
Inside, the restaurant is quite dark, with lighting at a premium in the dining room. It is somewhat brighter near the kitchen however. The tables are spaced fairly closely to one another as well. This being one of the more popular restaurants in Chicago, the noise level is also somewhat at a fever pitch.
As with many restaurant now, The Girl and the Goat is a small plates concept. This is good in that you are able to try several dishes during a visit.
The Roasted Beets ($9) was paired with green beans, white anchovies, avocado crème fraiche and bread crumbs. The beets were nicely roasted, tender and sweet. The green beans added a nice crunch, while the anchovies added some salt and funk. The avocado crème fraiche added some creaminess and balance to the dish.
The Pan Roasted Halibut ($19) was nicely paired with Marcona almond butter for some nuttiness and richness. The blueberry nuoc cham added some fruitiness and salty funk, while the mushrooms added some earthiness to the dish. The white asparagus added slight hints of sweetness and more earthiness to the dish.
The Chili Shrimp ($17) was not hot at all, more of a mild heat. The shrimp were fairly large, and nicely cooked. They were still sweet and tender, and not beaten to death with heat. It was paired nicely with the sweetness from the corn.
Grilled Walter’s Chicken ($21) was sort of a surprising dish in that is was somewhat soup like. The chicken was fall off the bone tender, with hints of Asian flavors due to the five spice. The fingerling potatoes were nice and creamy.
The Braised Beef Tongue ($15) was very tender and “meaty”. The masa was kind of surprising since it was in chip form, but added a nice textural contrast.
The Miso Butterscotch Budino was silky smooth with some saltiness from the miso. The black sesame seeds added a textural contrast and more earthiness to the dish. A very satisfying way to end the meal.
The food here is excellent with execution also being on point. There are a couple seats on each side of the bar which allow a great view into the kitchen. I would try and get those seats if you are a foodie.