It was a spur of the moment decision. We had no reservations. We were just sitting by a fountain chit chatting when Christine suddenly suggested Girl and the Goat for dinner. Getting reservations here has to be for 1-2 months in advance, so we said forget reservations then, let’s just try for a walk-in. The hostess told us 1.5 – 2 hour wait, and as we were eyeing the bar, hoping to alternatively snag a seat there, a waitress comes to tell us that she can seat us in front of another reservation. What luck! YES!!!
With the exception of the hostess who was cold and unfriendly, the service here was impeccable. Our waitress was knowledgeable about everything on the menu. My friend eats gluten-free, and immediately we were given menus indicating which dishes were gluten-free, which surprisingly was most of the dishes.
The big WOW of the night for me came early. It was this gluten-free bread with tomato aioli and mushroom butter. I’ve never tasted bread, much less gluten-free bread, that is so incredibly fluffy and soft. If this is what gluten-free bread tastes like, I’ll take this over regular bread any day. The aioli and butter were phenomenal, especially the tomato aioli. I was dipping everything in it by the end of the meal.
The menu is divided up by vegetables, fish, and meat, with a special menu just of goat. All the plates are meant to be shared, so we were able to try a large variety. We started out with a salad of roasted beets, frisee, green beans, white anchovies, and avocado creme fraiche. It was a refreshing and light start of the meal.
Grill seared ahi tuna with mushrooms on smoked uni cream. The tuna and uni cream were great, but I’ve forgotten about this dish by the end of the night because it just got overshadowed by everything else.
Notice the progression of the dishes as they came out too. After you order everything, the kitchen will order the dishes and send it out in a logical fashion. The level of attention given to our pace of the meal was really impressive, so that we never had too many dishes on the table nor no dishes at the table. It takes a well-coordinated staff to do this. I know that I’m a slow eater, so I really appreciated not feeling rushed.
Off of the special goat menu, this is a goat belly confit with bourbon butter, lobster, crab, and fennel. The goat belly pieces were tiny and quite overwhelmed by the lobster and crab. This dish had potential, but I don’t think it paid tribute to the goat the way it’s supposed to. This was someone else’s favorite though. When I commented that the goat belly was too small, she said it was just the right amount.
With a name like wood oven roasted pig face, I expected a gruesome, hearty dish that just gets down and dirty with the flavors. What we got though, was something much more tidy and clean. The pig face is accompanied by a sunny side up egg, tamarind, cilantro, red wine-maple, and a bed of potato sticks. The flavors were bold, and it was satisfying the way that a brunch-appropriate dish is satisfying and quickly became a favorite at the table. I guess I was just expecting something that resembled more of a hot mess.
The sauteed shrimp with peanut-pork ragout and spaghetti squash was one of my top 3 of the night. The spaghetti squash was really nice with all the shrimp juices soaked into it.
We were really full at this point, but the best was still to come! Crisp braised pork shank, kimchi of butternut squash and shiitake mushrooms, naan, and buttermilk dressing. I just wish I had more stomach space because the pork was amazing – crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It was cooked perfectly, and I kept going back to take one more bite even though I was already stuffed. This is a must order for everyone.
And that concludes a lovely 2-hour meal at Girl and the Goat with great service, good food across the board, and a couple of superstar dishes thrown in. Believe all the hype about this place, and do try to get here if you’re ever in Chi-town.
Girl and the Goat
809 W Randolph St, Chicago IL, 60607