Girl and the Goat

A few people asked me if I was going to go to the Girl and the Goat when I would be in Chicago.  Ends up I went.  This restaurant opened up about a year and a half ago.  The place was still jamming at 11pm when we left.  The restaurant is huge.  A large bar area and the kitchen is open and literally extends over the entire back of the restaurant.  The walls have this black crackly wood look to them.  Sort of feels like a ski resort. 

So you have to wonder what is up with the goat?  They have a more than a handful of goat dishes just building on the theme that chefs has taken over the past decade that you can make good food with meat that is not as expensive.  Forces the chef to be creative and keeps the prices down.  We were a party of seven and shared everything.  Just to preface my thoughts on the food last night is that I am well aware of how spoiled rotten I am living in NYC with the ability to eat extraordinary food at many restaurants starting with breakfast straight through dinner.  Also, I love to cook and bake too.  I bring this up because I was not so wowed with the food last night.  The menu was innovative yet the food was heavy handed…kind of went with the feeling of the space, good for a ski resort. 

Hiramasa crudo
So…to the food.  Hiramasa crudo.  Buttery thin fish with pieces of crispy pork belly and caperberries surrounding the plate with a chili aioli zig-zagged across the dish.  The sauce zig-zag from a bottle was a theme on each dish.

Shrimp ceviche
Royal red shrimp ceviche.  Some of the shrimp inside this was actually raw and had yet to cook in the citrus that usually is used to prepared a ceviche.  I believe the crispy pieces that were on the top and bottom of this dish was popiah which is a thin crust made from wheat flour.  Inside this was white asparagus, spiced sunflower seeds and cilantro. 

This is the one dish I really liked.  Pan fried shishito peppers that had just the right kick with a sesame miso paste tossed over them and then parmesan melted on top which eventually oozed all over the peppers.

Goat sausage pizza.  Ramps (tis the season), tomatoes, ricotta and a signature cheese from Beechers Flagship Reserve.  I found this to be bland and heavy handed with the goat sausage which had no flavor.

Ham Frites.  Not sure what the ham part was maybe it was the sprinkling of shaved pork over the fries.  The dips were a smoked tomato aioli and a cheddar beer sauce.  Strange.

Lamb tartare.  I was intrigued with this as you don't usually see lamb tartare.  Chopped pieces of raw lamb mixed with a tuna aioli and a english pea tepande on top.  Water crackers on the side for dipping.  Eh.

Chickpea fritters.  Way too much happening here.  The chick peas were fresh and stewed and then deep fried making the dish mushy in your mouth.  Pickles, red onions and Crave Brothers mozzarella were under the dish..and of course the sauce. 

Tempura soft shell crab in a tarragon brother, sugar snap peas and fennel covered with more sauce, thai chili aioli.  Super heavy.

Scallops were perfectly grilled with a sauce of marcono almond butter, green papaya and green almond nuoc cham.  Great Thai flavorings but then as you poked around there were pieces of braised duck too.  Why?  Just not necessary.

Empanadas stuffed with smoked goat. Marinated goat feta, tomatoes and hummus on the side.  Thick crust.  

Sauteed green beans with a fish sauce vinaigrette and cashews.  Really heavy handed on the sauce.

Pappardelle pasta with rosemary, gooseberries and goat.  This was interesting and really tasty.

Wood oven roasted pig face.  A sunny side egg over potato stix mixed with tamarind, cilantro and a red wine maple sauce.  The name makes it sound more interesting.

A large piece of confit goat belly with a bourbon butter glaze and little pieces of sweet lobster and fennel.  Just enough to send your cholesterol sky high. 

I was so excited to come here because I was bummed we would miss the Girl and the Goat.  So were my fellow foodies on the trip.  Not one of us thought the food was good. Really disappointed.  It happens.  An off night perhaps…but perhaps not…or perhaps just not for me or us.