Girl and the Goat Menu and Reviews

girl and the goat restaurant

Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

Girl and the Goat is a restaurant in Chicago that has received rave reviews since its opening in 2010.


Chef-owner Stephanie Izard, who most recently competed for and won the title of Iron Chef on the Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet, has earned much acclaim for her food. Both she and the restaurant continue to receive high praise from food critics and customers alike.

What Is Girl and the Goat?


Girl and the goat restaurant

In 2010, chef Stephanie Izard and business partners Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz opened the 122-seat Girl and the Goat restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Izard was a contestant on the Bravo cable network television show Top Chef in 2008.

 

She took the title, claiming a $100,000 prize and becoming the first female winner of the show. She was also voted “Fan Favorite” by viewers, earning her an additional $10,000.


The chef’s favorite meat to cook is goat. Her last name, Izard, is also a French word for a goat from the Pyrenees mountains. Izard has thus used the goat theme in the names of her businesses.


Prior to Top Chef, Izard attended the University of Michigan and earned a degree in sociology in 1998. She then enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona and completed her program in 1999.


After working at the Camelback Inn Resort and Spa and Fermier Brasserie in the Phoenix area, Izard moved to the Chicago area in 2001 and worked as a garde manger at Vong, a Thai-inspired French restaurant by French-American chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. She later worked at Spring and La Tache.


In 2004, 27-year-old Izard opened her first restaurant, Scylla, in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. It was a seafood restaurant that received strong reviews and awards. Izard closed the restaurant prior to her participation in Top Chef.

Girl and the Goat restaurant interiors

The Girl and the Goat has received numerous awards. Saveur magazine wrote its first restaurant review on this establishment, proclaiming it “America’s Best New Restaurant.”


In 2011, Girl and the Goat was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant, and Food & Wine named Izard one of the country’s Best New Chefs in 2010.


Izard eventually won a James Beard Award for Best Chef – Great Lakes in 2013.


The menu is eclectic, emphasizing Mediterranean influences and so-called nose-to-tail cooking. This means that all parts of the animals are used, from traditional cuts of meat to offal.


Though the restaurant is known for its meat dishes, it has also gained a strong reputation for its excellent vegetable plates.


Two restaurants have sprouted from Girl and the Goat. The second restaurant, Little Goat, serves all-day breakfast and upscale diner food and is located across the street from Girl and the Goat.


Izard created Little Goat to grow Girl and the Goat’s bread program and give her bakers a separate space for baking outside of the original restaurant. Duck Duck Goat is the third restaurant, and it is located in the Fulton Market. 


Fulton Market is the center of Chicago’s meatpacking district, and it's around the corner from the main restaurant. The food is Chinese-inspired. Girl and the Goat will also be opening a second location in Los Angeles’ Arts District in 2019. It will be Izard’s first restaurant outside of Chicago.

Menu


restaurant menu

The restaurant is open daily for dinner. The food is served family style, with the offerings centering around small plates. The menu is divided into food categories.


To pair with the food, the restaurant offers wines from small producers around the world, craft beers from mostly local Chicago breweries, and cocktails.


The menu changes often, but we have listed the most recent one below. Rather than running a restaurant that people only visit on special occasions, the chef intends her food to be enjoyed whenever customers wish.

V (Vegetables)


wood fired broccoli

Wood fired broccoli Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

  • Sauteed green beans with cashews and fish sauce vinaigrette
  • Pan-fried shishito peppers with sesame, miso, and parmesan
  • Roasted cauliflower with pine nuts, mint, and pickled peppers
  • Kohlrabi salad with evalon, fennel, toasted almonds, blueberries, and roasted shiitake
  • Roasted beets with white anchovy, green beans, bread crumb,
  • and avocado crème fraiche
  • Wood-grilled broccoli with spiced crispies and rogue smokey bleu
  • Chickpea fritter chaat with sungolds, carrot hummus, sev, feta,
  • and fresh garbanzos
  • Sweet corn pierogies with sweet corn-tomato chimichurri
  • and charred scallion sour cream

F (Fish)


pan roasted halibut marcona almond butter white asparagus blueberry nuoc cham

Pan Roasted Halibut Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

  • Hamachi crudo with finger hots, puffed black rice, red plums, and chili-soy vinaigrette
  • Florida rock shrimp with pupusa, aguachile, and broc-a-mole
  • Squash blossom rangoon with chive yogurt and almonds
  • Skuna Bay salmon with strawberry, avocado, chili-crunch, and asparagus
  • Soft-shell “crab cake” with soy glaze, tangy mayo, snap pea, and blackberry
  • Escargot ravioli with celery & escarole, bacon tamarind sauce,
  • and crispy onions
  • Seared scallop and sausage summery succotash with green harissa
  • Pan-roasted halibut with white asparagus, marcona almond butter, beech mushroom, and blueberry nuoc cham
  • Wood-fired whole branzino with green papaya salad and chili-shrimp broth

M (Meat)


girl and goat marinated lam skewers

Marinated Lamb Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

  • Grilled pork belly with marinated cherries, bok choy, and sauce green
  • Braised beef tongue with beef vinaigrette, masa, and salsa verde
  • Duck tongues with piri piri, crispy wontons, and fresh chickpea and tuna poke
  • Bucatini with tomato and milk-braised pork shoulder
  • Wood-oven-roasted pig face with potato stix, tamarind, sunny-side egg,
  • red wine-maple, and cilantro
  • Wood-fired lamb ribs with blueberry-tamarind glaze
  • Ramp-marinated grilled chicken with spicy peanut crunch, baby carrot,
  • and honey-ramp glaze
  • Crisp-braised pork shank with green goddess, naan, and stone fruit kimchi 

Bread


Spring-y breads, spreads and drinks

Bread Spread Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

  • Ratatouille focaccia with squash tzatziki and baba ganoush
  • Sweet onion brioche with pickle relish and smoked salmon cream cheese
  • Blueberry sourdough with spring onion cream cheese and berry lamb jam

Oysters


fried oyster set by girl and goat restaurant

Oyster Set Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

  • Raw, fried, or wood fired

Goats


goat empanadas

Goat Empanadas Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

  • Goat liver mousse with bread & butter pickles, strawberry mostarda,
  • and berry lamb jam
  • Goat carpaccio with olive-maple vinaigrette and smoked trout roe
  • Goat empanadas with roasted poblano cream, queso fresco, and
  • grilled pineapple-blueberry pico
  • Confit goat belly with crab & lobster, fennel, and bourbon butter

Note: Goat legs are available if you call the restaurant in advance to place an order.

Desserts


berry tasty summer dessert

Berry Tasty Summer Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

  • Chocolate pavlova says-a-me! with sesame whip, black sesame brittle &
  • ice cream, and caramel chocolate sauce
  • Berry tasty with sour cream whip, strawberries, and blackberry ballast
  • point gelee
  • Caramel corn & malt balls with chocolate magic shell, popcorn caramel,
  • and vanilla malt ice cream
  • Blueberry bourbon baba with blueberry jam, whipped cream, and
  •  bourbon ice cream

Pricing


girl and goat restaurant sitting area

Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

Prices are not listed on the Girl and the Goat’s website. Our research shows that the pricing is in the moderate range, averaging around $30 per person.


Vegetable plates run between $7-$15 while fish plates range between $13-18. 


There may be occasional meat plates that run between $7-$12, but the most popular dishes, such as the braised beef tongue, the wood-oven-roasted pig face or the crisp-braised pork shank, cost between $15-$25.

How It Compares


Chicago is home to two other restaurants run by former Top Chef contestants. Like Girl and the Goat, they have also received accolades.

Parachute Restaurant

parachute restaurant

This restaurant is in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago. Founded by Top Chef contestant Beverly Kim and her husband, John Clark, this 40-seat restaurant serves globally-inspired Korean-American cuisine.

 

The restaurant, which opened in 2014, was named Eater Chicago’s 2014 Restaurant of the Year, was a finalist for the 2015 James Beard Best New Restaurant Award, and has been awarded one Michelin star.


The beverage menu offers wines, cocktails, beers, and non-alcoholic options.

Price

Dinner: $$

Appetizers: $$

Entrees: $$

Desserts: $$


Rating

Monteverde Restaurant

Monteverde Restaurant

Monteverde is an Italian restaurant in the West Loop neighborhood run by Sarah Grueneberg and business partner Meg Sahs.


Grueneberg was previously the executive chef at Chicago’s award-winning Spiaggia restaurant, where she received a Michelin star for three consecutive years. 


She has also competed on both Top Chef and Iron Chef Gauntlet. In addition, she was recognized as Eater Chicago’s Chef of the Year in 2011 and received a James Beard Award for Best Chef – Great Lakes in 2017.

 

The restaurant has received numerous accolades from the Chicago Tribune, GQ, Eater, Bon Appetit, and Chicago Magazine. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and offers cocktails, beers, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Price

Lunch and Dinner: $$

Small Plates: $

Pasta Dishes: $

Rating

Pros and Cons


chef preparing food

Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

Because Girl and the Goat has been a popular restaurant since its inception, getting reservations is not easy and requires advanced planning. It is a noisy, crowded restaurant, but for good reason.


Most visitors highly praise the food and the experience, becoming return customers and recommending the restaurant to others.


The restaurant space is large and always busy, featuring a full bar, an open kitchen, a wood-fired oven, and a wood-fired grill.


Chef Izard herself is often found in the kitchen, which prepares small plates that are rustic and casual. The combinations may be creative and unusual, but they are still approachable.

 

Izard’s cuisine stays within a certain realm and is not too challenging or pretentious. Her cooking experience helps her use complex flavors and carefully prepare high-end dishes.


Despite this approach, the presentation and the dining experience are down to earth.


In Saveur Magazine’s review, Izard’s dishes are described as having layers of flavor with bold mixtures that are balanced, yet never forced or fussy.

 

While there are clear global influences on Izard’s food, it also has a local Midwestern attitude and ease, making diners feel like they are eating an abundance of comfort food.


In reviews, customers felt that despite the hectic atmosphere, service was good. Some felt their servers could have been more helpful and seemed to lack interest in engaging with diners.


Customers also felt that they were getting good value for their meals and beverages.


Not all dishes are successful. Some reviewers felt the portions were too small at times. Others felt the food veered toward having too much salt and being too rich and heavy.


The atmosphere is that of a closely-packed room with the sounds of loud conversations and music bouncing off the wooden floor and other hard surfaces. You will not have much personal space in this large place.

Pros

  • Delicious bread
  • Good service
  • Reasonable prices
  • Excellent food
  • Vegetarian options
  • Gluten-free menu available

Cons

  • Reservations are difficult to make less than a month in advance
  • Long wait without a reservation
  • Extra charge for bread
  • Not much lighting
  • Names of dishes can be confusing
  • Loud
  • Food may be heavy on salt and overly rich

Recommended Dishes


girl and goat restaurant

Image via Girl and the Goat Facebook Page

Sauteed green beans, wood-grilled broccoli, roasted cauliflower, chickpea fritter chaat, wood-oven-roasted pig face, goat empanadas, confit goat belly


Servers generally recommend that diners order two to three plates per person. Some reviewers mentioned that this was too many and that they were too full to enjoy dessert after eating dinner.

Final Thoughts


Rating: 4.8/5 stars

Girl and the Goat is a large restaurant that serves small plates with big flavors. It has received accolades and positive reviews in the eight years it has been open.


Also, it’s considered one of the best and most popular restaurants in the Midwest, if not the entire country. The restaurant has been consistently busy since its opening, and it slows no signs of slowing down. 


The constant popularity of this place is due to several factors, including the likeability of the chef, the high quality and consistency of the food and service, and the good value customers get for their money.


The chef also makes the cuisine interesting by keeping proven signature dishes on the menu while experimenting with new items and making menu changes based on seasonality. The atmosphere is fun and casual, so diners can be relaxed while having unique and delicious food that continues evolving along with the chef.

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