Girl and the Goat is the simply best Chicago restaurant we've been to in a really really long time. I can't believe it's taken me this long to post a review. I made the reservations about a month in advance since we wanted a Thursday night at 7pm, a highly coveted dinner time.
I must say, this restaurant is worth the wait and lives up to all of the hype. I don't watch Top Chef or whatever show this master chef was on, but I heard about this place through several friends who raved about the eats (one even sat next to The Allstate Guy/President Palmer from 24!).
Ernie and I arrived a little early for our reservation but the table wasn't quite ready yet. The dark room was dimly lit by low hanging lights over wooden tables. It was vibrantly loud inside with voices bouncing off the walls and slick un-carpeted floors. The scent of burning firewood filled the air. Our friends Amy and Eugene and fellow foodies joined us and we were seated at the front of the dining room near the wall of windows that looks to out to the pedestrian sidewalk.
The staff was overly attentitive and made sure my water glass never got less than half full. The sommelier recommended a nice blended red wine for the table, I believe it was a pinotage but my memory escapes me.
Let's get on to the food... We had the most amazing collection of small-medium sized dishes. It's suggested to order 2-3 plates per person. The menu is split up into "V" for Veggie, "F" for Fish and "M" for Meat. Our cheerful server dressed in a black t-shirt with a cartoon goat screened to his lapel made fantastic suggestions. My highest recommendations are for the chickpea fritters and the pigface. The frittars were deliciously crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. It just melt in your mouth with a buttery warm sensation. The frittars are served on a bed of heirloom tomatos as fresh as those in grandma's backyard and mildly flavored mozzarella cheese.
Though the term "pig face" sounds disgusting, I assure you it looks like nothing more than 2 round slabs of wood oven roasted meat. The pork was extremely tender and did not need a knife to cut since it simply fell apart at the tines of your fork. It's served with a sunny side up egg and potato stix which rounds out the amazing southern-influenced dish.
Other dishes we tried were:
1) Roasted Cauliflour - great if you like cauliflour but go for the chickpeas if you're only getting one V dish.
2) Hiramasa crudo - a flaky white fish served with a small piece of crisp pork belly.
3) Skirt Steak - a good choice, but if you only have one red meat option go for the...
4) Short ribs - meat so tender it cuts so easily and served with edamame out of the pod.
5) Oysters were a special of the day and totally worth it!
The table also ordered some bread, but nothing to report from me, the gluten-free one!
I absolutely loved this restaurant and is easily the best place we've dined all year. For those special occasions, this is a perfect place to go with a few friends so you can try more dishes. My only suggestion is that the menu items be re-named so they don't sound so disgusting. I'm not sure how many people are willing to eat "whipped back fat", which I hear is actually quite delicious.
Girl and the Goat
809 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607