Chicago is a foodie haven. There are always new restaurants popping up and you are guranteed to be able to find viable options for unique foods....however, having a husband who suggests we eat PB&Js on a Friday night when we find ourselves not wanting to go out and with an empty fridge, you can probably guess (if you haven't been able to tell by other posts), how picky he is and how hard it is to get him to try new places, especially since our budget allows us to eat out just once or twice a week.
Girl and the Goat opened Summer 2010 with main chef Stephanie Izard, from Top Chef. Since then, it's consistantly been ranked as one of Chicago's top restaurants. This also means that it's typically pretty hard to get into. Resevations can be made via opentable.com...but should be made months in advance. We had reservations Summer 2011 which we canceled because Ben got scared of the unique menu and I was unable to find anyone to dine with last minute.
I got reservations for my birthday this year and then Ben was traveling for work...so only July 9th we did a belated birthday dinner, mainly because that was the soonest we could get in for the two month look ahead, and this was 5pm on a Tuesday for two!
When we finally went, I was beyond excited.
The ambiance is dark, modern, and crisp. Even through it was 5pm, the majority of tables (and walk up bar spots) were already taken. While we'd looked of an example menu prior, we tried going in with an open mind on both budget (hey, we'd been waiting forever to go here) and food options. Their foods are served tapas/family style, which makes it easy for trying several to have a taste of everything.
Prior to our arrival, we'd spent some time on Yelp and other review sites trying to decide what to order. The menu is mainly divide into three categories: vegetable, fish, and meat. It changes frequently as items are used up. (We were heart broken that the cheese beer bites were just sold out upon our arrival).
The first item we ordered was bread. I'd read several notes about the olive oil garlic butter and fresh baked bread. While the bread was delicious, the butter had something off about it.
In an attempt to get Ben to eat his veggies, I ordered wood grilled broccoli with bleu cheese and spice crisps (kind of like Rice Krispy cereal). This was melt in your mouth delicious! Of course, it freaked Ben out, so I ended up taking home leftovers (which I accidentally left in the car for five days of 90-degree weather. I would not recommend unless you want your car to smell like garbage).
Ben's choice for a side was an obvious one: ham frites (fries) with smoked tomato aioli and cheddar beer sauce. I'm not a huge fan of french fries (I know, I know), but these were tasty. Slightly over salted for both of us, but that was taken care of between the aioli and cheese sauce.
Because the restaurant's name does include goat our wait convinced us that we should order a goat item. Neither of us remembered eating goat before, so the goat empanadas seemed like a goad option and they were! Crispy outside, tender inside. Yum!
However, the main item to write home about is the wood oven roasted pig face. Keep in mind that Ben is a guy who hadn't tried mashed potatoes until he was 20 years old...he was the one who suggested we order this, as it's the most popular, raved about, item on the menu.
The presentation is beautiful, but we were instructed the best way to eat it was to mix everything together. You guys, I have never tasted something so divine, so savory in my life! And, the best part, Ben LOVED it too! Don't be frightened by the name, this is a must-order item!
At this point we were both getting pretty full (they also have a decent craft beer list so I indulged in a beer and two for Ben, which I encouraged, hoping it would get him to eat the broccoli. No dice), but a meal is not a meal without dessert. While the dessert menu was hard to choose from, we ordered the strawberry shortcake, which included strawberry ice cream and a twist with pistachios. It was refreshing and delicious!
Until next time Stephanie!