Last time we visited Chicago, Top Chef Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard had recently opened her restaurant, Girl and the Goat to rave reviews. We managed to get in and thoroughly enjoyed our meal, so we were excited to revisit the experience on our most recent trip. Of course getting reservations on short notice is no easy chore at this still-hot restaurant, so we had to go prepared to eat like seniors- by which I mean show up at 4:30 for dinner and hope for an opening. Eating at 4:30 isn’t all bad though, as it creates opportunity for a coveted second dinner later in the evening after drinks. Screw you for judging me.
As an added bonus, Izard has opened a second restaurant, a diner, right across the street. The Little Goat Diner serves food that is right in my wheelhouse. It’s all comfort food, and some damn fine comfort food at that.
So here’s my 7 Stephanie Izard dishes that shouldn’t be missed on any visit to Chicago.
1. Goat Empanada’s at Girl and the Goat
The Goat Empanadas were probably our favourite dish of the whole trip. They were amazingly crispy, and packed with flavour. The freshness of the asparagus salad and grilled blueberries worked perfectly with the richness of the meat, and the spicy aioli left us smacking our lips for more. Classy restaurant or not, I licked that board clean.
2. The Sloppy Goat at Little Goat Diner
Substitute goat for ground beef, top it with rosemary slaw, and you’ve got yourself a sloppy goat. Served on a pillowy soft squish squash roll, this is one great sandwich that’s not your average Joe.
3. Sugo at Girl and the Goat
Really good restaurants, which of course means really good chefs, have the ability to make a boring old meat sauce into something absolutely delicious and memorable. If you’ve ever had the Bolognese at Edmonton’s own Corso 32 (when it’s on the menu) you know what I mean. The same is true at Girl and the Goat with their Sugo. With pappardelle, rosemary, and cape gooseberries every bite was bursting with rich, meaty flavour. Amazing.
4. Tempura Mashed Potatoes at Little Goat Diner
Mashed potato, deep fried in tempura and served atop a smattering of Asian bbq sauce and ranch. We got a side of the crazy delicious cheese sauce to dip it in and I suggest you do too. It’s so wrong, but so right at the same time.
5. Goat Chili at Little Goat Diner
Simply put, this is some of the tastiest chili I’ve had anywhere. The flavour is bold, and the bits of fried bread on top add a terrific crunch.
6. The Goat Almighty at Little Goat Diner
Goat burger with braised beef, bbq pork, pickled jalapeno’s, salsa verde, cheddar, and onion rings. Every single aspect of this burger was delicious. I ate this for lunch, and didn’t eat again until lunch the next day. A burger this size should probably come with a health warning, but it tastes so good we’d all probably ignore it anyways.
7. Wood Oven Roasted Pig Face at Girl and the Goat
What more do I have to say? It’s a pig’s face, roasted, and topped with a fried egg, some tasty tamarind vinaigrette, and cilantro oil. If that’s not enough to get you excited there’s really no hope for you.