Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Girl and the Goat

Last weekend we tried a new restaurant - not just new to us, but new to Chicago. Girl and the Goat just opened about a week ago, maybe less, and it's Stephanie Izard's restaurant. Recognize that name? She won Top Chef Season 4.

The restaurant is very handsome-looking. I don't want to say pretty because it has a very rustic look, but it's a really cool space with a big open kitchen so you can see everything going on. Upon being seated we were handed a wine and cocktail menu, a regular menu, and a little bread and oyster menu. If you want bread, you have to order it and it's $5. Whaaaat? I know, but trust me - you want this bread. They have an in-house baker making everything fresh, and there are three choices of what comes with the bread. We got the white anchovy butter and roasted garlic in olive oil option. The bread was hot and crusty and the butter tasted like caesar dressing melting into the bread.

I'm never one to pass up oysters, so we ordered the raw French Kisses with some kind of mignonette. I apologize for the lack of details in explaining exactly what's in each dish, but I assumed the whole menu would be online so I could go back and look at it again but it's not.

The menu is designed so that everything is a small plate to be shared. We ordered three and a veggie side dish. The first one to arrive was the pork liver moussaline. I know, crazy. Since I liked the other two dishes we ordered I told Peter he could go crazy and get whatever he wanted for the third even if I didn't like it. This dish is something I would have never ordered on my own, but once I tried it...it was so good. The moussaline is in that little jar and it came with some little buns, a cherry jam of sorts, and housemade pickles which were amazing. I don't even really like cherries, but there I was slathering the pork liver and cherry jam on bread and really enjoying it.

The veggie dish arrived along with the moussaline. Roasted cauliflower with pine nuts, onions, and mint. So, so good.

The next two plates were both seafood. Scallops with caperberries and bits of braised veal:

The scallops were good, but the braised veal was my favorite part of the dish. And here's the other one - crispy soft shell crab with corn and potatoes. Really excellent.

And of course, dessert. What's a meal without dessert? We got two: the "fudgcicle" and the goat cheese bavaroise. The goat cheese dish was kind of like a goat cheese cheesecake substance, but fluffier and not as sweet, with blueberry and brown sugar cake underneath.

So, here's my beef with dessert. Every dessert option, and there were four, had a very big savory component. The fudgcicle had olive oil gelato and a beer butter sauce. One of the other desserts involved fried potato dumplings. It almost seemed like Stephanie isn't a sweets person and reluctantly put a few dessert items on the menu but didn't go all the way into the dessert category with what she chose. Me, I like dessert. The goat cheese thing was good, but I wish it was more cake and blueberries and less cheese. The fudgcicle was ok. I like olive oil gelato, but sometimes you just want a good flourless chocolate cake with some fresh whipped cream or vanilla gelato, you know?

That's really my only complaint about the meal though. The food was excellent, the staff couldn't have been nicer or more excited to be opening a new restaurant, and restaurant itself had a great vibe. I know we'll be coming back for more. And look at this cute little goat!

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