Grace Esler

Girl & the Goat (chicago)

Grace Esler
Girl & the Goat (chicago)

Girl & the Goat is one of three restaurants in Chicago by female chef/superstar Stephanie Izard, season 4 Top Chef winner in 2008. Walking into Girl & the Goat, your preconception is that the food is going to be really good. When the restaurant is hard to snag a table at, more often than not you can expect it to be pretty amazing. For some reason on a Friday night with the help of a higher power, we got lucky and were granted a table before it needed to be reserved! We were absolutely ecstatic as we’d been wanting to eat here since it’s opening in 2010 (took us long enough).

Once inside Girl & the Goat you get this cool sort of casual vibe, which I was not expecting. With dark wood finishes and a spacious floor plan, you realize that you don’t have to be dressed to the nines to eat here. Heck, there’s even families bringing young children here; I wish I had eaten at Girl & the Goat when I was 5 too.

Onto the food!

The menu is divided into 6 sections with two of them being vegetables and bread. Tip #1: Don’t skip out on the bread. Tip #2: The small plates aren’t so small. I normally would’ve gotten mad if my company tried to eat some of my food, but in this case I was happy to share. So thank you Stephanie for feeding us well!

We started off with the citrus brioche bread, served alongside miso harissa butter and pomelo relish. The brioche was flakey and loaded with butter just as it should be. When topped with this exotic and earthy miso harissa butter, your brain basically explodes. Then to top THAT off with a tart and spicy relish, you question whether this type of flavor profile has ever existed before. And you’re right, because it definitely hasn’t and this is a very good thing.

Out next came the roasted beet salad with green beans, white anchovy, avocado crème fraiche, and breadcrumbs. This salad hit every crisp, crunch, crack, bang, and pop of texture you can think of. It’s a light and refreshing way to start the meal and get those veggies in. Your mom would be proud.

Next up to the table was the star of the meal for me, the pan fried shishito peppers with parmesan, sesame, and miso paste. The crazy thing about this dish is that it seems so simple from afar with only 4 ingredients, but the way these ingredients were so carefully selected is what makes the dish. Who would think to put shishito peppers, miso paste, and parmesan cheese together? Stephanie Izard is who. I dream about the day I’ll get to eat these peppers again!

The chickpea fritters are a star on the menu as well. Served with roasted vegetables, masala spiced yogurt, and crumbled sheep’s feta, it’s a filling small plate that could easily be eaten as a main course. When you think of what biting into a cloud would be like, just order these fritters and you’ll know.

No meal is complete without dessert, right? Right. Though we were very full from larger portions than expected (not a bad thing), we decided to order one of the “lighter” desserts, the Citrus Meringue Pie. This dessert screams happiness when a bright yellow custard is presented in a mug with peaks of torched meringue, pistachio shortbread crumbles, citrus fruits, and roasted pistachios. Almost like a modern deconstructed lemon meringue pie, but way better than any pie your Grandma can make…(sorry Grandma).

Girl & the Goat is a must eat if you want to treat your company to fun, refined, and just knock your socks off good food. With culinary influences from Indian, Italian, to Chinese food you might be intimidated by some dishes. But once you have a taste you’ll understand how all these flavors come together in one big yummy melting pot. A comfortable yet exciting dining experience that really allows the cuisine to stand for itself. Stephanie Izard’s Girl & the Goat is a Chicago staple for a reason. Do yourself a favor and eat here!