The Girl and the Goat is one of those Chicago restaurants whose reputations have made it all the way to Salt Lake City. It’s been on my list of restaurants to visit for awhile now but got pushed aside by its sister restaurant, Little Goat, when we were searching for a midday lunch spot on Sunday afternoon.
Little Goat is across the street from The Girl and the Goat and both restaurants are co-owned and cheffed by Top Chef winner and James Beard “Best Chef” Stephanie Izard. Little Goat is the almost-open-around-the-clock diner version of The Girl and the Goat (which is only open for dinner), serving incredibly creative dishes that will have you studying the menu wondering how in the world she put the ingredients together. But once you try it, you’ll understand why she’s revered as a genius.
We arrived at Little Goat in dire need of comfort food, nursing massive hangovers thanks to a late night out in Chicago. Little did we know we’d come to the right place. It took a minute for our aching heads to wrap around some of the dishes on the menu, maybe because of the purposely vague descriptions like “Kimchi & Bacon & Eggs & Pancakes Asian Style with Breakfast Tasty Thing.” But some of the items seemed to speak directly to our state-of-mind, like The Fat Elvis Waffles with banana, peanut butter and bacon maple syrup.
We couldn’t decide between ordering breakfast, which is served all day (thankfully, since it was our first meal but somehow 3 p.m.), and lunch entrees like the tonkatsu sandwich (breaded pork cutlet, asian barbecue sauce, mayo and cabbage on white bread) and the Fat Club (smoked turkey, bacon, butterkase cheese, avocado, cabbage, tomato, mayo and special sauce on “fat toast”) and burgers like the Goat Almighty (goat burger, braised beef, barbecue pork, pickled jalepenos, salsa verde, onion rings and cheddar).
When our indecision got the best of us, we did what any head-throbbing, hangover suffering couple of friends would do :: we compromised by ordering one breakfast dish and one burger and splitting the two. I ordered the Bull’s Eye French Toast, a magnificent concoction consisting of an egg embedded in a slice of sweet onion broiche topped with crispy breaded chicken and slices of strawberries swimming in barbecue maple syrup. The contrast of textures and tastes was amazing, with bites of tangy sweetness haphazardly dancing with crunchy chicken chunks and hints of smokey barbecue with little bits of gooey egg. Wow.
Meagan ordered the Korean Burger, a massive burger topped with kimchi, bacon, a sunny-side up egg and a glop of spicy mayo on a “squish squash roll.” The kimchi gave the burger an obvious tangy kick while maintaining its balance with the egg yolk, which dripped all over the rest of the burger, mixing with the bacon to give it a hint of breakfast familiarity. It, too, was amazing.
We sat at the counter, watching dish after dish appear from the open kitchen, drooling the entire time. It became a bit of a matching game, where we paired every plate produced from the kitchen to what we read on the menu, gasping “Oooh, that must be the Fat Elvis!” every time a server took something away. It was oddly entertaining. Needless to say, we came up with a list of 15 dishes we wished we had room to try.
Needless to say, Little Goat remains on my list of restaurants to go to in Chicago, just to try more of the crazy creative menu.
Go to Little Goat for :: An exciting, creative meal that will test the boundaries of your taste buds. Notes :: Open 7 days a week, Sunday-Wednesday 7 am to 11 pm; Thursday-Saturday 7am – 1 am. The bar, which serves beer, wine and cocktails, is open until 2 a.m. Reservations are not accepted. Follow owner Stephanie on twitter here or on instagram here and friend Little Goat on facebook here.