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  • Writer's picturethe_maestro

Girl & the Goat – Chicago, IL

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

The details:

- Girl & the Goat

- 809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL

Chicago is one of my very favorite cities in the world, and fortunately just under four hours from my Mama's place of residence in Iowa. The restaurant scene is absolutely exploding as well, evolving from traditional Chicago classics like prime rib, over-the-top Italian, and deep dish pizza (VOMIT – see here) to a truly diverse and worthy restaurant scene befitting of a city of this caliber.

Girl & the Goat had been on my list for a LONG time, and though I tend to plan trips based around food, I have an unfortunate tendency to waffle between where I'd like to eat and waiting until the last minute to try to score a reservation. For that reason, combined with the general difficulty of securing reservations for one, it's been impossible to get in at G&tG. Fortunately, my cousin Larissa knows the management, and landed three tables for our family as part of our big gathering.

But first, some festivities, including drinks at London House's rooftop bar and some dancing out on the town. And while I was thrilled to see my sister Georgia and her guy Jonas, fresh off a 777 from Vienna, I was even more delighted to learn that one of my favorite people, Jo Jude, had surprised me with a trip from NYC to join the family for our fabulous weekend.

Stephanie Izard is a rockstar chef (the first woman to win Iron Chef) who has made a big splash in the food scene in her native Chicago, and G&tG is her flagship. It's set in a warehouse-like space, like many of the establishments in Fulton Market, and the menus are creative, spontaneous, and truly unique. The immediate fam and I had the chance to dine at her Chinese establishment next door to G&tG, Duck Duck Goat, back in 2016, but I was so thrilled that I finally got the opportunity to sit down for a meal at Girl & the Goat. I am especially passionate about dining at and promoting the restaurants of women in an industry dominated by men.

There's no group dining facility, so the squad divided up between three tables. At our table was the immediate "family:" myself, Mama, Georgia, Jonas, and Jo. We went pretty wild on ordering, and why not! You'll have to forgive the quality of the photos, as the low light in the restaurant made picture-taking challenging!

We settled in with some house-made bread with a whipped feta spread and a green garlic tzaziki. We devoured it extremely quickly. We inhaled it. As you can see, we ate it before I could even get the camera out. So good.

For wine, we engaged in an unnecessarily lengthy discussion about whether we wanted white or red, and it seemed the consensus became a medium-bodied red. Just the trick, we settled on a 2016 Crozes-Hermitage from Domaine des Lises in the northern Rhône. Frequent readers know I am currently cheating on my beloved pinot noir with syrah, and this was an elegant, modern expression of syrah from one of the more accessible AOCs in the northern Rhône. Still had the slight funk and depth I expect from a Rhône syrah, but the fruit was bright and balanced, which allowed it to pair well, or at least acceptably, with our diverse food. Would be interesting to see how a wine like this ages.

The remainder of the menu is divided into veggies, seafood, meat, and goats (duh). We selected a handful from each.

For veggies, we wound up with grilled broccoli with smoky bleu cheese foam and spicy rice krispies, roasted cauliflower with pickled peppers, mint, and pine nuts, and shishito peppers (droooooool) with parmesan, miso, and sesame seeds. We were blown away by all of them, but the cauliflower was the most interesting, particularly the addition of mint!

From the seafood category, we elected to go pretty wild, since Jo doesn't partake in the meat dishes. In order below (forgive me if some details are fuzzy!)

1) Halibut with Marcona almond butter, beech mushrooms, white asparagus, and a blueberry sauce.

2) Scallops with pork belly, chickpeas, pickled rhubarb, mint, and sesame tuile.

3) Yellowtail crudo, and of course I can't remember the garnish!

4) Grilled tuna belly with cashews and cilantro... and some other stuff.

5) Fried shrimp with sweet chili sauce... and some other stuff.

The tuna belly was a particular favorite, and blew me away, but most everything was excellent, although I disagreed with my fellow diners' rave reviews of the shrimp, which I thought was just okay.

For the meat, we went with ground goat skewers in a middle-eastern style with pomegranate, basil (I think), and a yogurt sauce spiced with togarishi; crispy short rib with radish, red onion, and grapefruit; and the special of the night, a whole slow-roasted goat neck. By this point, we were absolutely stuffed, so I was so sad that I didn't get to enjoy the goat neck as much as I would have liked to.

Dessert followed, but I didn't take pictures because I was exhausted and forgetful at this point, but the blood orange sorbet was a particular hit, and was a perfect palate cleanser.

So glad I got to try this place! Next time, hopefully I won't be quite as hung over as I was this time around. The Jensen clan is a wild bunch!

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