Today’s post takes an in-depth look at Girl & The Goat, arguably the best restaurant in Chicago.
Before ever knowing I’d be making a trip to the Windy City, I knew about this restaurant and Chef Stephanie Izard. You might recognize her as the winner of Top Chef in Season 4, and the only woman to win the competition until Season 10. I was so hell-bent upon eating here that I walked off the plane and nearly straight into her restaurant with whatever reservation I could grab.
I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Stephanie via email about her background and vision for G&G. She had actually opened her first restaurant ten years ago after a cook told her she had the chops to do it. Later after Top Chef, she met her partners of the Boka Restaurant Group who helped bring G&G to life.
Upon entering the restaurant, it is clear that the space was meant for guests to have fun and enjoy food. The servers are outgoing and eclectic, proudly sporting tattoos that almost match the illustrations on the walls. The menu itself is divided into vegetables, meat, and fish with a special menu for bread, oysters, and goat. Naturally, we ordered at least one thing from each section.
All the entrees were extremely well executed without being pretentious, a difficult balance and something that San Francisco is not that good at doing. The flavor combinations are simultaneously exciting and refined, as we noticed when eating through the confit goat belly with bourbon butter (yes – I tried goat!) and the sautéed green beans with fish sauce vinaigrette. Chef Izard wastes no time in making bold food statements – the pig face was an odd thing to say out loud when ordering, but easily one of the best dishes of the meal.
When it came to dessert, we were treated to all the menu items complimentary, yet another way that Chef Izard goes above and beyond for her restaurant and customers. The corn kulfi was so amazing I could have eaten it twice – the eggplant and zucchini kept it from being too sweet while the ice cream and caramel kept it firmly in the pastry realm.
As more and women chefs take over high-profile restaurants (I wrote about Prune in NYC earlier this year), it is inspiring to see a change in how food is dealt with. The gender lines continue to blur, as Chef Izard stated correctly in our chat – “I never really think about myself as a female chef. Just a chef.”
Girl & The Goat had their fourth anniversary this year, and there is definitely no way to go but up. A huge thank you to Stephanie Izard and her staff for a great dining experience – it was a perfect way to remember Chicago.
Girl & The Goat
809 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607
Reservations highly recommended