|The ever-changing menu|
|Cheese Garlic Bread with anchovy spread and pickled garlic|
|Smoked Goat Pizza with Ricotta Cheese|
|Pan Roasted Red Fish with Black Beans, Butternut Squash, Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms|
|Grilled Skirt Steak with Beats wilted Romaine and Salted Goat Milk Caramel|
|Grilled baby octopus, Serrano celery root, Braised pistachio, Red Bliss Potatoes|
|Lamb Sausage Stuffed Calamari, Sweet Garlic Sweetbread, Crisp Currant Soar|
|The bill for four, not bad at all.|
Sorry for the blurry photos!!
Finally got to check out Stephanie Izard's Girl and the Goat! A 6-week reservation period should give you a hint that this place is booming. And if you haven't heard of Izard, she was Top Chef winner a couple seasons back. Her 1.5 million dollar 130-seat restaurant on Randolph Street's restaurant row sits along the likes of Blackbird, Avec and the former Marche.
Walking into the space you can't help notice the flaming (literally) kitchen, front and center. The enormous (7,400 square feet) space is divided by burnt cedar plank walls which do an excellent job of breaking up the contemporary and rustic theme, parallel to Izard's palette.
We made our way to the bar while our table wrapped up. The bar itself echo's the contemporary vs. rustic with hanging jar lights, European oak and antique fireboxes behind the bar. A very cozy space to wait for dinner. The bartenders and servers are down to earth and don't make me feel like a novice while trying to pronounce names of drinks. You can find the most sought-after seats two tables set directly by the open kitchen where guests can sneak a peak at Chicago's top chef. And if your lucky, she might stop by your table.
Finally, our table was ready. The menu changes often but the first thing that caught my eye was the goat pizza. My group of 4 picked out our dishes quite effortlessly- everything sounded amazing. The other favorite at our table was the lamb stuffed calamari, and skirt steak with goat milk sauce. But we did indeed love every dish. A bottle of Chinon later and many smiles our dinner concluded. The dishes speak for themselves and I'll let you go over the ingredients above. I think what I liked the most was the layering of flavors and rustic ingredients. Something comforting, yet sophisticated- much like the space itself. Overall I loved the decor (by 555 design firm) a very romantic and cozy place, and loveddd the yummy food.
One thing worth noting was that although the space was impressive I felt a slight disconnect from the Izard I saw on TV. It is easy to get swept away by the exterior (see paragraphs above) and forget that what should shine in a restaurant is the food. Financially and legally, Girl and the Goat belongs to Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, a duo who already own three other restaurants in Chicago (Boka, Landmark and Perennial). But thank god for Izard, because without the food all that would be left is a show room. I wasn't surprised to find out that she didn't own the place, I mean - its huge! The interior tries to pay homage to Izards rustic roots- but does so it such an outlandish way that it seems inauthentic.
I hate to spend so much time talking about the space and not the food and I hope when you go you can appreciate both aesthetics. One thing that is authentic is Izard's menu. And isn't that all that matters? I know that I'll certainly come back to try another round of dishes and drinks, and I look forward to the spring/summer menus, as long as Izard continues to stay true to her food.