Last night Erica and I showed up for our reservation that was secured over two weeks ago. This place is the definition of hot and buzz worthy. While we enjoyed our meal and experience, there were definitely some aspects that did not "wow" me. I loved the decor and layout, the menu and the service. Everything I've read about Stephanie Izzard suggests the food presented was a direct extension of her personality - bold, fun and complex. Of of the five dishes we ordered, one was sent back, one was great, and three were just good. Everyone that raves about G&G might find the food good value, but from our experience last night I'm still on the fence. The drink and beer list is fantastic and I think the menu is creative and fun, especially the daily changes. I wouldn't rush back to eat the food because it's not my style, but there's no doubt about the talent and effort that goes into each and every dish.
G&G is designed as a small plate/shared meal. There are three sections of the menu - veg, fish and meat - as well as a small list of daily offerings. The home-made bread is on the daily menu and we started with one of the three choices, Tortone. The fresh and tasty bread is served with sweet onion butter and herb oil. Crazy as it sounds, the bread and butter was one of our favorites from the meal.
Our second "round" of food included sauteed green beans in a fish sauce vinaigrette and the well-known smoked goat pizza (with apple soffritto, black kale, ricotta and cipollini). I really enjoyed the green beans, especially the well cooked texture. The sauce is a very strong combination of garlic, soy, ginger and fish vinaigrette that is tasty in small doses, but could be too strong for many. Erica's favorite dish of the night was the goat pizza, a flat-bread style loaded with tasty goat, cheese and other surprises. I was impressed with the portion size of both the dishes. I couldn't finish the beans as to not overwhelm my taste buds for the rest of the meal, and we had to show some restrain with the pizza. Both are recommended to try.
Our third round consisted of roasted cauliflower (with pickled peppers, pine nuts and mint) and sauteed arctic char. Unfortunately the cauliflower was over salted and we had to send it back after a few bites. Our server was fantastic and appreciative of our correct assessment of the seasonings. The arctic char was delicious and wonderfully flavored. It was served with grilled calamari and other small vegetables, but I felt those were distractions from the char in an overly complicated dish.
The last dish of the night was my absolute favorite, the grilled beef short ribs served Korean BBQ style with edamame in a scallion vinaigrette. The meat melted off the bone and into your mouth, flavored beautifully. I liked the edamame touch, taking the hands on feel to another level. I would return for that dish and some tasty beer tomorrow.
There is nothing subtle about Girl and The Goat, and that's the idea. The food and flavors are bold and intriguing. I'm impressed with the decor, drink list and the service was top notch. G&G is a high class establishment with a talented and entertaining chef that will be a fixture on the Chicago dining scene for years to come.