Monday, August 23, 2010

The Girl and the Goat

Many of you may live in high rise buildings, but I on the other hand live in a small walk up. Since there aren't that many units in the building, you become much closer with your neighbors. As a friendly new tenant, when my neighbors Doug and Kelly went out of town the other weekend, I watered their plants, and upon returning to town they offered to take me to dinner. While I was holding onto this IOU an interesting thing happened. I'm cooking in my apartment (yes I eat at home sometimes), and all the sudden our door unlocks. Assuming it was Jeff or Steve, I just went about my work, but after a few seconds of awkwardness I turned around. To my surprise there was a girl in the doorway who I then found out was Kelly's friend Shanon from out of town. Shannon had been given a key from Doug (who is kind of like the building super and must have given her the wrong key). Either way I was somewhat startled, as was she, so I took her to the right apartment and everything was settled.

It was thus decided that between my being neighborly and being such a good sport during what I would like to refer to as a home invasion, that it was time to cash in the dinner offer. Doug and I were going to check out The Urban Burger Bar that just opened right near our apartment while Kelly and her girlfriends were going out for a night on the town. However, after some of Kelly's friends canceled, Doug asked me if I'd be willing to change my plans to go to the newest restaurant in the Fulton River District. I jumped at the opportunity, and Doug and I were off to The Girl and the Goat.

Logistics
The restaurant is mostly one large room with many tables, an open air kitchen, and a lengthy bar. It seems impossible to get in here without a reservation, and I'm under the impression that it's difficult to get one without some pretty advance notice. Luckily for us, Doug and Kelly are well connected with some higher ups in the restaurant group.

The service here may have been the best I've had in a long time. My drinks and water were always full, and our waitress was very knowledgeable about the menu. This really paid off considering that the menu can be very complex. Also, Kelly is a pescatarian and it was nice that the menu had lots of veggie and fish options for her to chose from.

The cost is definitely up there, but it's nothing you wouldn't expect. It's right on par with the neighborhood by offering a huge variety of small plate options for somewhere between $10-$18. They suggest that you order 2-3 plates per person. Then they take all of your orders and course them out accordingly.

The Food
Our first course that came out included Shaved Kohlrabi Salad, a Rabbit Rillette, and Crispy Soft Shell Crab. Kelly prefaced the Crab dish by saying that if she could have a "last meal" this would be part of it. I wouldn't go that far, but the dish was really good with a nice bite from the lime and the sweet corn aioli. I'd never had Kohlrabi before, but it was a refreshing start to the meal. The Rillette was my favorite dish of the night. It had a light, flaky, and crispy wrapper with a savory filling and nice garlic flavor.

 The Bread with Goat Cheese Butter and Chimichurri

 The Shaved Kohlrabi Salad

The Crispy Soft Shell Crab

The Rabbit Rillette

The second course was the Roasted Cauliflower, Seared Scallops, Escargot and Goatballs, and Sauteed Skate. The Cauliflower had a delicious hint of mint, and the pine nuts gave a nice crunchy textural balance. The Scallop was perfectly seared and topped with an amazingly tender braised veal. I was wary about the Escargot since it was served in a marinara instead of butter and garlic, but this was very tasty and balanced well with the Goatballs (goat meat balls in case you were wondering). The meatballs were really soft and had lots of flavor. The Skate was one of my least favorite dishes of the night. It was a very buttery piece of fish, and was properly cooked, but it had a little too much salt for my liking.

 The Roasted Cauliflower

The Seared Scallops

The Escargot and Goatballs

The Sauteed Skate

The third course included the Sauteed Green Beans, the Smoked Goat Pizza, and the Grilled Lamb Ribs. The waitress said these would be some of the best Green Beans I'd ever eaten, and she was spot on. It was covered in a creamy fish sauce vinaigrette, and they were coked well without losing a nice snap when you bite into it. The Ribs were interesting in that they didn't fall right off the bone, and the restaurant feels a little too high end to pick up the bone and gnaw away. The Goat Pizza was my second favorite item of the night with a thin, crispy crust and plentiful amounts of pulled goat meat.

 The Sauteed Green Beans

The Grilled Lamb Ribs

The Smoked Goat Pizza

It happened to be Shanon's birthday, and because Doug and Kelly are friends with the general manager, we were given one of each dessert. This included a Goat Cheese Bavarian Cream, a Chocolate Mousse of sorts, and a Blueberry Crisp. The Cream and the Mousse were both very rich desserts that provided excellent flavors to wrap up the meal. The Crisp was very much like a tiramisu with a blueberry compote on the bottom. It had textural complexity and was overloaded with flavor. I'm usually not a proponent of desserts where chocolate isn't the focus, but you should make sure to get this when you go.

 The Blueberry Crisp

The Bavarian Cream

Overall
In a sea of popular small plate restaurants near the corner of Halsted and Randolph, The Girl and the Goat does an excellent job of standing out. The food was high end, but consistently had a warm, homey feel to it. From the nice beer selection to the last dessert, the experience was wonderful besides 1 or 2 dishes. I'm very thankful to have neighbors that are so well connected, and so generous as to invite me along with them. It was also very cool to see Stephanie Izard in person, and I appreciated that she was tasting and expediting at the window. I'm giving The Girl and the Goat 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.


Girl & the Goat on Urbanspoon

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