Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Little Goat Diner

Location: 820 W Randolph
Cost: About $20 per person

In Chicago, brunch can be a real pain. Even crappy places like Jam n' Honey rack up quite the wait by the mid day on the weekends. My parents called me when I had just finished a shift in the ICU to grab a bite the other weekend. So of course that meant getting brunch somewhere on the near north side in the early afternoon. It was a dismal outlook. To make matters worse, we decided to go to a new hot spot, The Little Goat Diner.

Logistics
Little Goat is right across Randolph from its parent restaurant Girl and the Goat, and connected through a hallway on the side is Little Goat Bread (a sandwich shop / bakery). Just as I'd suspected, the wait was projected at about 2 hours. Luckily, within 15 minutes or so, three spots opened up at the first come first serve breakfast bar. We snatched those up in what felt like quite a bit of thievery.

All of the waitresses wear these old fashion puffy sleeved diner gal shirts that are kind of cool. The breakfast bar gave us a great view of the cook line which was really busy. Besides the excessive popularity of the place, the trendy feel, and the tatted up staff members, the diner vibe was right on. The cost is a little bit higher though. Most sandwiches were in the low to mid teens while sides were around $5. Dinner entrees are a few bucks more. It should be noted that they have the extended hours you might expect of a diner with food service going to about 1:30 AM. If you don't think you can put up with the risk of waiting, I'd suggest you hit it up for a late night meal.

The Food
We all went for the sandwich category. My mom got the Fried Pickle Sandwich, and my dad and I split the Reuben and the Patty Melt. The pickle sandwich was somewhat of a cluster of vegetables and hummus on a roti. Despite not being able to decipher each ingredient it still tasted great. The pickle was perfectly fried and went well over the smooth hummus and somewhat cripsy roti. The patty melt was traditional, locally sourced, and wonderfully greasy. It also had these caramelized onions to give just enough bite to the dish. The reuben had very well marbled corned beef. The pretzel rye was buttery and crispy. The big difference from your traditional reuben was the kimchi instead of sauerkraut. I thought my dad would hate it, but it was quite the opposite.

The Fried Pickle Sandwich

The Reuben

The Patty Melt

Otherwise we ordered a Chocolate Malt, a side of French Fries, and a side of Mac n' Cheese. The shake was good, not my favorite in the city. The malt flavor was a little too strong. The fries were extra smokey, reasonably thin, and not the least bit soggy. For the $5 there were plenty to share with at least 4 people. The mac was again in proper noodle form with an excessively creamy sauce and plenty of bread crumbs.

The Chocolate Malt

 The Smoked French Fries

 The Mac n' Cheese

So at the end of the meal, my dad requested to say hi to Stephanie Izzard before leaving. I wasn't sure what he was getting at, but I think he mostly wanted to meet her briefly and say what a big fan he was. In the midst of a bunch of meetings and running a busy kitchen, she somehow found time to come and say hi. My dad responded with, "This is my son Jeff. He writes a blog." I was embarrassed to say the least... Then he asked if he could get a picture with just me and her. G-d forbid his 25 year old son be able to speak for himself. We ended up with this group photo. I'm not proud.


Overall
Some of my friends have had mixed thoughts about the Little Goat Diner, but I loved it. The patty melt and reuben were spot on, and I can't wait to try some of the dinner options the next time I go. With the potential logistical nightmare ahead of you, I'd suggest going at an off hour (of which they have plenty available). I'm giving the Little Goat Diner 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.

Little Goat on Urbanspoon

4 comments: