While searching for new and exciting restaurants in Chicago, Andrea and I came across reviews for Girl and the Goat on TripAdvisor. At the time of my search, it was the #2 rated restaurant in Chicago, and for a city with over 3,000 restaurants reviewed, that is quite impressive. So, with our Sunday night dinner plans set, we headed to The Windy City for food. Well, the real reason was so Andrea could be in the Chicago Triathlon, but food was important, too.
We had an aggressive taxi driver, and the trip from the Blackstone Hotel to the intersection of Halstead and Randolph, location of Girl and the Goat, took only a few minutes and $10. Better than walking. We had a 4:45 reservation, and the restaurant was almost full at that point, and was certainly full by the time we left two hours later.
Our waiter was very helpful in his recommendations. So many items on the menu looked great that it was hard to narrow it down. He suggested five items, as G and the G is a small plates restaurant, and this estimate was spot on. Four would have left us starving in the streets of Chicago, and six would have caused us to explode, coating the restaurant in all sorts of unpleasantness. So, well done, Mr. Waiter Guy.
After ordering, Mr. Waiter then went through the list of items and set the order in which they would come out. That was pretty slick. He also recommended a bottle of wine, a 2005 Lonko Malbec that went well with everything. The red was served in wine glasses without stems – they looked like tumblers. I think the wine went down faster when coming out of those glasses – it seemed to mysteriously disappear. Maybe Andrea was drinking it all when I wasn’t looking, I’m not sure.
First out of the gates was the grilled baby octopus. Poor baby octopi – cut down in the prime of their lives and served with radishes and fava beans. But they would be happy to know that they were delicious.
Second were the goat empanadas. Luckily, they didn’t mix us up and serve us girl empanadas. (I’m sure she would have been great sautéed with butter, but I’m not much of a cannibal. Unless you add bacon, then all bets are off.) The crust was perfect and the goat was tender. I believe that was the first time I had ever eaten goat, but I can’t be sure, as I’ve been to Egypt and Morocco, so who knows what was actually in those meals.
Third was the roasted cauliflower, the only truly vegetable dish we had that night. Who knew that cauliflower could taste so good? Somebody picked some pickled peppers and put them on the cauliflower along with pine number which combined to make a rather bland vegetable actually taste excellent.
Fourth were the beef ribs. As hard as it was to pick a favorite plate, this was mine. The exterior was crispy and the interior was tender and all of it was delicious meatness.
Fifth came the ham frites, a fancy way of saying ham fries. Yes, they were French fries topped with bacon flakes. And they were perhaps the best fries I’ve eaten, a great combination of crispiness, but not overly so. They were served with two sauces, smoked tomato aioli and cheddar beer sauce. Tough to choose a favorite sauce, but the edge goes to the beer sauce. I just like beer.
Time was dessert, and I wasn’t done with the meat, choosing the pork fat doughnuts. The doughnut holes were covered with sugar and served with a yogurt sauce. Again, perfectly prepared an exactly as I would expect pork fat doughnuts to taste like. OK, I had no idea what they tasted like, but they were outstanding.
If you are looking for an outstanding meal with unique dishes in Chicago, definitely add Girl and the Goat to your list of restaurants. As I mentioned, dinner took two hours, and the time flew by – it only seemed like an hour and forty five minutes. The great atmosphere added to the meal, as well as the excellent service. Go. Try. Eat goat.