The first time I ate at Girl and the Goat, it was a last-minute decision: I’d finished a work engagement in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and my friend and I were driving into Chicago where we’d be flying out the next day.

“Let’s try to get a table at Girl and the Goat tonight,” my friend said.

I’d heard from a few other friends that Girl and the Goat was hands-down their favorite Chicago eatery or at least a must-try while there. I called and was able to get a table after 9 PM. When we arrived, the place was packed with standing room only at the bar full of folks waiting for tables.

The name behind Girl and the Goat is Stephanie Izard,?a> recipient of many accolades including winner of “Top Chef,” a James Beard Award, and best new chef from Food and Wine. Stephanie’s dishes are highly creative with an emphasis on (obviously) goat. Her food is colored by influences from regional America, Europe, and east Asia.

The dinner had been good with the tartare being my favorite, but nothing was mind-blowing. Maybe it had been too hyped up for me. Boo.

This second time trying Girl and the Goat, however, was pretty exquisite. Like before, reservations weren’t easy, and the hubs and I got the last seating on a Sunday night.

Our server was knowledgable and friendly, and he recommended a multitude of dishes, all of which we loved. The bread selection, with breads made daily at the Little Goat Diner, was now the new benchmark for bread. We got it with a little “miso hungry,” miso butter and kim chi relish, and this was likely my favorite dish of the night. From salads to duck tongues to dessert, every dish was well-balanced in terms of taste and texture.

Girl and the Goat is the kind of place that serves elevated food in a casual setting—somewhere you can show up in shorts and a t-shirt and share a delicious pig face with friends.

What made my second experience better than my first? I don’t really know. Perhaps the first time, I was tired after a long car ride following a work engagement, and all I really wanted to do was crawl into bed. Maybe the second time, I had no expectations and because we were seated immediately upon arrival, there was no build-up of anticipation pre-dinner. Whatever it was, I can now say I’m a member of the Izard cult.

Can’t wait to try her other restaurants!

Girl and the Goat
809 W. Randolph St. (At Halsted St.)
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: +1 312 492-6262

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