Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicago: Girl & The Goat

Ok, yes, I like Top Chef, but I was never one to go "omgggg that's so & so's restaurant, and we gotta go check it out" except for Michael Voltaggio, whenever he decides to open. However, in Chicago, I was determined to try Girl & the Goat, which is Top Chef season 2's winner Steph Izard's restaurant. It's been garnering a lot of attention, with good results, and it even got nominated for 2011's James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.

Somehow I managed to get a 10:45pm reservation a few days before we left for Chicago, which is the last slot. Apparently, to get a good time slot, you need to call in at least 1-2 months in advance. In fact, it's not just Girl & the Goat that is like this. Chi-town is definitely a foodie city.

Girl & the Goat
809 W Randolph St
(between Halsted St & Green St)
Chicago, IL 60607
Neighborhoods: Near West Side, West Loop

Ahrhan taking a shot of the front of the restaurant.

Menu. Girl & the Goat is more about the small plates, similar to tapas, like many new casual American restaurants nowadays. The menu is separated into 3 sections, vegetables, seafood, and meat. After diving right into the menu, we ended up with 7 dishes, hoping that it was enough for the 4 of us.

Specials of the night.

Table set.

cute logo
Cute goat logo!

girl & the goat
I like the rustic look of the place.

I started off with an old fashioned and an Allagash White for the rest.

First item: Hiramasa Crudo with crisp pork belly, aji aioli, caperberries. Hiramasa is a type of yellowtail and the dish is essentially a sashimi dish with small pieces of crispy pork belly sprinkled on top.

goat carpaccio
Goat carpaccio with tongue-olive vinaigrette and smoked roe. Off the special menu.

goat carpaccio
Anna never had goat before so we decided to order one. Thought it was gonna be gamy but not at all! Lots of contrasting textures at work here.

ham frittes
Ham Frittes with smoked tomato aioli, cheese sauce, and smoked swiss. Thinly cut fries with fine fine bacon/ham sprinkled through it like it was salt? Yes! Delicious smoky goodness.

Two types of sauces: cheddar & chipotle aioli (I think).

chickpea fritters
Chickpeas Fritters with romesco, hazelnut hummus, sesame aioli, and goat feta. Hazelnut hummus was awesome! The romesco sauce has a little kick to it.

calamari with rabbit ravioli
Crisp calamari with rabbit ravioli, spring onions, and red watercress. It also had an aioli over it but forgot.

rabbit ravioli
The ravioli wasn't anything crazy since they were small so couldn't really "taste" the rabbit. Perfectly fried calamari though.

Roasted cauliflower with pickled peppers, pine nuts, and mint. I love the refreshing flavors and the only other place where I've had better cauliflower is at the Lazy Ox Canteen in LA.

pork face
Wood Oven Roasted Pig Face with sunny side egg, tamarind, cilantro, and fried potato stix. Most interesting dish of the night! Meat from the face of a pig (probably cheek) is reformed into a disk shape then oven roasted.

I love it when the yolk breaks and runs down.

The different sauces were oddly addictive. You can definitely tell the brown sauce is tamarind, which is sweet but the other sauce on the plate gave it a tangy taste too.

Even though they were all small dishes, the 4 of us did get full off 7 dishes. We realized that they love using aioli's here... which usually is a turn off for me since I'm not a huge fan of mayo but they do it subtly enough. Besides the heavy use of salt (lots of dishes were salty) and the dependence on aioli on many of the dishes, I still like this place. Reminds me of Laxy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo a lot since the two places give off similar vibe. Definitely a good place to check out if a reservation can be scored!