The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Chi-town Eats – The Girl and the Goat

Besides Lollapalooza and my burrito bender, the main purpose for this trip to the great city of Chicago was a birthday celebration for Esposa de Miguel.   The two met at a birthday party we threw for Piehole C.  She’s one of Boom Boom’s BFFs from high school, and he’s mine from college.   The party itself was legendary, or at least I was told it was.  All I know is that I drank waaaaayyyy too much.  It was one of those nights where I should’ve passed out at 9pm, but I kept on getting second winds.   I don’t know what pissed off Boom Boom more – my “performance’ that night or the fact that I was completely free of any type of hangover.  Anyway, fast forward seven years and they’re happily married with two beautiful little girls.  So there was some good that came out of that party.

For the celebration, he booked a table for twelve at The Girl and the Goat.  I read about i in Saveur’s first-ever restaurant review, where they named it “America’s Best New Restaurant”.   The chef is Stephanie Izard, who was the only female to win Bravo’s Top Chef, back in season four.

Useless pic, but I had to show off that we met her...the visual equivalent to name-dropping.

So this is the part where I embarrassingly admit that I’ve never seen one minute of any episode of Top Chef.  Everyone raves about it and I know I’m losing kitchen cred having never seen it.  It’s like how every male golfer has seen “Caddyshack” or how every true gangsta has memorized “Scarface”.  So I think the only thing to do is start blogging about it when it comes around again.  I may even have a big party for the first episode or finale – maybe both.  But if it’s annoying or completely devoid of eye candy, all bets are off.  Stay tuned.

The restaurant is spacious with soaring ceilings and an open kitchen with full view of a huge wood-fired oven.   They used burnt cedar to add, ironically enough, both drama and warmth to the loft-like space.  Very unique.  It’s all small plates and, like many places these days, features a lot of off-cuts or unusual meats – in G&G’s case it’s pig faces, goat belly, and duck tongues.  But there’s something different here.  Other places that use those meats will either make simple, ethnic, or rustic preparations.  Izard’s mixing it up with many different eclectic combinations that excite and challenge diners in many different ways.  With a dozen people choosing, we got to sample just about everything.

What we ate

  • Marinated olives
  • Sauteed green beans with fish sauce vinagrette, cashews – Boom Boom’s favorite of the night which is surprising because any time I use a drop of it she rips my lungs out.
  • Squash blossom Rangoon, crab, chive yogurt, toasted almonds
  • Chickpea fritters, eggplant-tomatillo caponata, mozzarella – the night’s silent assassin.  I was expecting something akin to falafel, but these were super creamy.  One of my favorites.
  • Ham frites, smoked tomato aioli, cheddar beer sauce – meh…
  • Pan fried duck tongues, peaches ‘n’ plums, cherry tomato, chimichurri – Not bad, light and crispy, but there really wasn’t much to them.  Can’t say I can think of anything they were similar to, which is good.  Otherwise, I’d say that it was just a gimmick.
  • Wood oven roasted pigface with maple gastrique, sunny side egg, taramarind, cilantro, potato stix
  • Wood fired walter’s chicken, yuzu harissa, fried pickles, kohlrabi, grilled naan
  • Confit goat belly, bourbon butter, lobster ‘n’ crab, fennel
  • Kalbi style beef ribs, corn coblettes, charred okra
  • Corny goat bread, goat cheese butter, corn relish – not cornbread, but bread with corn in it, if that makes sense.  Even if it doesn’t make sense, make sure you fucking order this.  I seriously doubt you’ll ever hear me talk about bread like that again.  It’s THAT good.
  • Busta rye bread, swiss mustard butter, 1000 island
  • Peter piper bread, fennel butter
  • Bittersweet chocolate, shiitake gelato, toffee crème fraiche – This was pretty popular with the table, especially the shiitake gelato.  It was good, but I was a bigger fan of…
  • Pork fat doughnuts, honey yogurt, carmelized figs, lemony eggplant

What we drank – (I think, can’t find all my notes)

  • Isabel Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chateau d’Or & Gueles “La Bolida” – Costieres de Nimes
  • Olga Raffault “Les Picasses”  – Chinon Cabernet Franc

About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

5 comments on “Chi-town Eats – The Girl and the Goat

  1. thefoodandwinehedonist
    August 31, 2011

    Found out I forgot about the Goat Carpaccio with tongue-olive vinaigrette, and smoked roe…

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This entry was posted on August 31, 2011 by in Dining, The Chi and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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