Neighborhood: West Loop
Vegetarian Options Rating: ★★
Pescatarian Options Rating: ★★★
Food Quality: ★★★★
Overall Rating: ★★★★
- Small Plates:
- Olive Focaccia
- Raw Oysters
- Grilled Cuttlefish
- Blue Cheese Pierogies
- Green beans
- Calamari Bruschetta
Girl & the Goat seemed like this legendary restaurant that was so hard to get a reservation for. I made a reservation here months ago for a Friday night at 10:15pm (the best time I could get). Considering how busy this place is, I had very high expectations. I watched Stephanie Izard on Top Chef years ago and was very excited to finally try her classic, legendary restaurant.
When you walk in, you are greeted nicely by the hosts and it has a large, but cozy feel to it. It was decorated for the holidays and I loved how tasteful they ornaments were. It wasn’t gaudy or corny, but really beautifully decorated. The restaurant had a rustic feel to it but it wasn’t trying too hard.
Our server was great – she was very easygoing, helpful, and not snobby at all. The people taking the plates and refilling the water were very polite as well. Sometimes when you go to more well-known restaurants in the West Loop, you can get pretentious vibes from the servers, but I did not feel that here at all.
Being a pescatarian, this place is pretty meat-heavy and a haven for goat-meat lovers. Being a foodie though, this place had been on my bucket list for quite awhile. They were accommodating with making some dishes vegetarian/pescatarian-friendly, which I really appreciate. We ordered a bunch of smaller plates for sharing.
We started out with the olive focaccia bread served with a yuzu-harissa butter and lime olive oil. The olive pieces soaked up the lime olive oil flavors and the yuzu-harissa butter was unique and delightful. I absolutely loved every second of this dish being an olive lover. I don’t see harissa on many “New American” menus so I appreciated the uniqueness of it.
Our next plate consisted of some raw oysters served with a lemon mignonette. The oysters were so fresh and some of the best tasting oysters I have ever had in Chicago. The mignonette was a wonderful complement to the more potent oyster flavors. The oysters were just the beginning of our adventures with seafood that night.
The grilled cuttlefish was also a unique assortment of flavors. It was good but I wasn’t taken by anything really. I did really like the hot mustard and pistachio lemon relish. The fingerling potatoes were a nice texture addition to the softer texture of the cuttlefish pieces. The cuttlefish had a charred, grilled flavor.
However, my favorite dish of the night were the potato blue cheese pierogies. If you knew me, you’d be surprised that this was my favorite dish because compared to the other dishes, the flavors weren’t super unique, but it just all blended really well together and tasted delicious.
The blue cheese was a zesty, exciting flavor paired with the more mild potato flavor. I really loved the maitake mushrooms served on top of the apple relish. I am not super into apples but I really enjoyed the relish because it wasn’t dominated by the apples and brought out the maitake mushroom flavor.
We ordered the sautéed green beans as a side because the server had raved about them. But I was kind of underwhelmed by them. They were not super flavorful and were a bit bland for my tastes. They weren’t extremely bland but just not that great. I did like the cashews but the fish sauce could have been stronger.
Finally, we ended our meal with the Calamari Bruschetta, which was also another highlight. The calamari was sautéed perfectly and was served on top of the goat milk ricotta and apples. It was not your typical bruschetta and I appreciated how creative of an approach this was. I am not crazy about apples but the goat milk ricotta was heavenly.
Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert because we had too many small plates. I did really enjoy this experience but probably hyped it up too much in my head. I think there are other restaurants in this echelon that have more options for vegetarians and have more exciting flavors.