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Guest Post: Dinner With the Girl & the Goat

February 24, 2012

Tim is my oldest friend and when he live-texted me an entire dinner at the Girl and the Goat a few weeks ago, then asked if he could blog about it, I had to say yes. (Also, if you’re an orchestra looking for a bassoonist, flautist, clarinetist or someone who plays a dozen other instruments, you should hire Tim.)

Hello TER readers! My name is Tim; I’m a professional classical musician who plays the bassoon. What’s a bassoon, you ask? Feel free to check out my website to find out more about me and what it is I do.

Erin and I have been friends for forever (since we were 2 years old!) and I have been dying to guest blog on TER for a long time now. Thankfully, I’ve gotten my chance since I was recently in Chicago for work earlier this month. And so introduces my dinner with the Girl & the Goat.

Isn’t the goat on the logo really cute?

This restaurant is located in the West Loop of downtown Chicago and is the restaurant of Top Chef: Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard. A very hip place, this restaurant is always busy. I arrived around 9:00 on a Monday night and the place was packed with about a 30-minute wait for a small table. Thankfully, they have a full service bar and I was able to get right in and sit down.

I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant and bar. It’s a fantastic gastropub that supports local farms and products. Since they support local farms and suppliers, the menu changes frequently and rotates dishes based on availability.

To drink, I started off my evening with a local brew — the Metropolitan Dynamo lager. It had a great clean crisp taste with a subtle sweetness. I love the taste of local brews, and am always eager to try local drinks wherever I go. But now onto what you’re all waiting for… the food!

The restaurant’s website describes the menu best: “The Goat’s menu is divided into three categories: Vegetable, Fish, and of course Meat — while vegetable, fish, or meat are respectively the main stars of their categories, there are crossovers in each area so you’ll get a little bit of everything.” Since I was in Chicago visiting for work and who knows when I’ll get back to the city, I decided to sample something from each category.

From the vegetable category: Sweet Potato Gratin- mashed sweet potatoes, cheese, and crunchy onion curls on top.

Comfort food at its finest! Warm and delicious, this was an incredibly satisfying side dish.

From the fish category: Hiramasa crudo with crisp pork belly in an aji chili sauce with caperberries. (Quite the mouthful to say but it was delicious to eat!)

I ordered this dish because I saw a recommendation for it on foursquare on my phone (incidentally, it was also foursquare that helped me discover the Girl & the Goat). I didn’t know what half of those ingredients were exactly but went for it anyway. And I’m glad I did! As far as I know I’ve never eaten Hiramasa (aka yellow amberjack), but discovered it’s a light, tasty fish that I had no trouble eating raw. The aji chili sauce provided a nice kick of heat to the dish and underlying flavor without overpowering the fish. And the crisp pork belly… I mean, who doesn’t love bacon? It complimented this dish very well, giving a contrast in texture and flavor profile.

Finally, a trip to the Girl & the Goat would not be complete without trying its namesake, the goat. After consulting with a friendly bartender, I learned the goat dish I had been eyeing was one of his all-time favorites (added bonus, the dish also allowed me to try goat prepared two ways). Get ready for this: Grilled goat tenderloin with a goat chorizo lentil base and black trumpet mushrooms. Is your mouth watering yet?! Cause it should be. (Apologies for the quality of the photo… by the time I got this dish it was quite dark in the bar and I was too shy to use my flash. Plus, I really wanted to dig in!)

Words cannot truly describe how incredible this dish was! The goat tenderloin was perfectly cooked, living the middle, slightly rare. Yet it was so tender it practically melted when my fork touched it. The goat meat has a slightly gamey flavor but was seasoned perfectly to enhance this fantastic flavor. And while this should have been the star of the dish, it was the goat chorizo lentils that REALLY stole the show. The chorizo had a great spice flavor and combined with the lentils, I was scraping that bowl clean with my spoon! It took all my humility and manners to not lick the bowl.

All in all, I have to say this may be one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my entire life (and yes, I ate every single bite of all three dishes). The dishes are slightly smaller portions so this would be a great place to visit with friends where everyone could order a dish or two to share. The next time you find yourself in Chicago, you MUST visit the Girl & the Goat restaurant in the West Loop. You won’t regret it!!

Goat: great or gross? The only time I ate goat regularly was in London, where our favorite Indian place on Brick Lane served the most incredible goat curry.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Liz P. permalink
    February 24, 2012 7:45 am

    Great to read a post from Tim!

    – Liz Palka

    • February 24, 2012 7:53 am

      So good to hear from you! I’d love to get together for coffee next time you’re back in the DC area.

    • Tim permalink
      February 26, 2012 10:18 pm

      Thanks, Liz! It was so much fun to write and remember that meal.

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