You know how there are those restaurants that are so hyped up that they have a two month wait to even get a reservation, and they inevitably never live up the expectation? Girl & the Goat is the exact opposite of that, the not living up to the expectation part, I mean. I had been hearing about this restaurant for months prior to my trip last weekend to Chicago. We tried to get in back in early December when I was in the city, to no avail, and made our reservations then for late January. Even with the reservations being placed over a month in advance we couldn’t even get a Friday or Saturday night! I’m sure everything I have just said does not make you want to go there in the least bit, however, you should seriously reconsider because if you are not on the phone calling to make a reservation by the time you are done reading this post you’re crazy. What is so special about this place? Well, have you ever even had goat liver mousse before? It is even better than the chicken liver mousse I had two nights prior to this, which was delicious.
Part of what makes Girl and the Goat what it is, is the ambiance. It’s just dark enough to make you think that there could be a famous celebrity lurking around there somewhere and you wouldn’t even notice, but not so dark that you can’t read the menu. Speaking of the menu, let’s talk about how amazing it is. They have a plethora of unexpected options, from sweet potato blue cheese pierogies, for the slightly less adventurous, to braised beef tongue, for the slightly more. As I mentioned in my last restaurant post, prior to this I had just experienced a lovely chicken liver mousse, so when I saw the goat liver mousse on the menu here, I just knew it was fate.
The other thing I would like to note is how allergy friendly Girl and the Goat is. I don’t think I have previously mentioned that I have Celiac Disease which, for those of you who don’t know, means I cannot consume anything containing gluten. When I mentioned this to our server, who was probably the most fantastic server I have ever had, named Owen, he brought out a whole different menu for me, which had almost as many options as the regular menu, explaining exactly what substitutions would be made, as well as noting those things that were “fried or prepared on equipment shared with gluten” but contained no gluten ingredients. I cannot express how great it is to be able to go out to eat and not have to worry about finding something on the menu, or bothering your server with a bunch of necessary substitutions.
As far as the actual food we ordered goes, we started with the roasted beets (sans breadcrumbs, of course), and the chickpea fritters. These were paired with a lovely Italian red, the Garofoli Farnio Rosso Piceno 2014, a blend of 60% Montepulciano and 40% Sangiovese. This wine was aged in stainless steel barrels, so it does not have any of that oaky flavor that you often get with other Italian red blends, which is refreshing. It was a good blend, retaining some of the more structured full bodied and rich flavor profile from the Sangiovese, while managing to take a lighter more soft and fruity flavor overall form the Montepulciano grape. An interesting combination for any wine. Overall I would say it is a lighter red, perfect to have with you appetizer dishes, and able enough to stand up to some harder cheeses you might find on a charcuterie board. The wine has a ripe plum forward flavor with notes of chocolate and berry. I think it could have done with a few more years of aging the tannins and acidity were present and well balanced, which would have blended a bit better with a tiny bit more time in the cellar. I give this wine a solid 9.
Now, onto the main dish. The three of us split the seared diver scallops and, of course, the goat liver mousse. You can’t possibly go to a restaurant named Girl and the Goat without ordering something goat. To pair with these dishes we went a little bit lighter, well actually a lot lighter, with the 2011 Famille Sparr Pinot Gris Cuvée Tradition. The Pinot Gris is a light and fruity wine, that tends to be kind of citrusy when the grape is picked when it’s less ripe, and more peach or pear-like when the grape is harvested in its riper states. This particular bottle is of the latter variety, the notes were definitely of peach and pear, with a little bit of citrus mixed in. It was a little bit sweeter than I would generally like but overall a good wine, and I feel it was a nice compliment to the lighter dishes we had for our main course. I give this bottle an 8.5, and that is really all I have to say about this particular Pinot Gris. The restaurant, on the other hand, I could probably rave about for hours, so do yourselves a favor and call Girl and the Goat immediately and make your reservation for a month or two from now, if you’re lucky you might even get a Friday night. Then all you’ll have to do is plan a trip to Chicago, if you don’t already live there.