Recently opening a new location in the arts district of Downtown Los Angeles the famous restaurant coming out of Chicago makes its debut.
Chef Stephanie Izard took the Top Chef Title in Season 4: Top Chef Chicago, and since then she has won the James Beard Foundation Reward because of her critically acclaimed restaurant Girl & the Goat in Chicago. She continued to strive and battled to become the second female Iron Chef of all time. I’ve known about Chef Izard for a long time and was ecstatic to finally get the chance to taste her food.
I had high expectations going in, and it still blew me away. I have never had cuisine quite like this. I would classify it as Farm to Table. Every bite is extremely fresh.
I have now been a couple times and have eaten everything on the menu. Let me tell you, unlike some restaurants where you have to pick out the gems, every dish is a gem.
Everything is meant to be shared family style!
Before eating, order cocktails. The bar is fantastic. I love the “Watermelon Sugar Hops!” and the “Goat Fashioned”.
It could possibly be the best Old Fashioned I’ve ever had with the perfect balance of whiskey and a dash of
sweetness. My Mother agreed. On with the meal!
Starting with the appetizers you can’t go wrong with the “Duck Tartare”, the “Pork Liver Mousse”, the “Chickpea Fritters'' and the “Naan Dip”. Shockingly great.
The idea of “Duck Tartare” stumped me at first. But I had to trust the process and believe in Chef Izard. Never would I have imagined how great raw duck would taste, the gochujang mayo brought the whole dish together.
“Pork Liver Mousse'' is absolutely divine. The biscuits come baking straight out the oven. They melt in your mouth together like you're eating foie gras straight out of France.
“Chickpea Fritters” are hot, crispy yet fresh coming with a cool and tasty goat yogurt.
“Naan Dip” comes with a Carrot Hummus that is innovative and just begging you to take another bite.
As a middle course I highly recommend the “Pork Belly Salad”, the “Shrimp & Crispy Greens Salad”, the “King Salmon Poke”, and the “Pan-Roasted Scallops''.
“Pork Belly Salad”… I’m not the biggest fan of salads but I’ve always given them a shot. Hands down this is the best salad I have ever had. The pickled fresnos, shrimp rice and coconut crunch that balances out the juicy richness of the pork belly is key! Everything works in harmony. The Pork Belly is the star cooked to perfection, but by no means does the salad not hold up. If anything it raises the pork belly to a higher level making it a complete dish.
“Shrimp & Crispy Greens Salad” is a close second to the “Pork Belly Salad”. Surprisingly the salad was my favorite part. The pickled veggies, pepita crunch, and avocado made the base, the tangerine gave it this pop of natural freshness, and the limey-herby dressing brought the shrimp and the salad together. Truly delicious.
“King Salmon Poke” comes with chili crunch, avocado, and strawberry… You heard me right, strawberries. Now I have never once liked fruit and fish together. Order it and wait to get proven wrong. If you’re a fan of sashimi, get the dish. The salmon, the strawberry, and the avocado together made the perfect bite. You can taste the freshness of the fish, the sweetness of the strawberry, and the heartieness in the avocado all in one bite, with a kick of natural spice to emphasize the flavor.
“Pan-Roasted Scallops” are the best Scallops I’ve ever had. No question. The sear on the scallop was cooked to perfection, golden brown on the top and bottom. The chilli relish packs a really nice punch of spice and compliments the scallop like two salsa dancers across my palate. To top it off the peanut-popiah crunch adds tons of flavor and texture. This dish has some serious personality,
None of this I say lightly!
For the main course, get the “Goat Curry”, the “Sticky Glazed Pork Shank”, and if you can fit it, the “Roasted Chicken Thigh”.
“Goat Curry” is a must. The curry itself is heavenly, with just the right amount of sweetness. The goat is cooked like a braised beef short rib. It breaks apart with the touch of your fork, and the masa chips give it a great crunch.
“Sticky Glazed Pork Shank” melts right off the bone, literally. With lettuce cups and naan on the side you can make your own perfect bite. Shiitake mushrooms, strawberries, tomatoes, and a hoisin mayo, however you want it. The cook on the pork is spot on and the glaze adds another layer of sweetness to every bite.
I know what you’re thinking. The “Smoked & Roasted Chicken Thigh” really? Why order chicken when you’re out at a restaurant? But it is anything but normal chicken. Coming in on a bed of dill-tahini and labneh, it is covered with a grape-manquat salad. Fresh to the T, you won’t taste chicken quite like this again.
Last but definitely not least dessert. Innovative, Creative, Fun, and Delicious come to mind. There are 3 must try desserts.
“Mango Sticky Rice” is a play on what we know, it is Mango Ice Cream
with a Coconut Cloud around it. So familiar tasting but elevated to a new level. Absolutely Brilliant.
“Sesame Cookies & Cream” is very unique and worth every bite. Sesame is the star, but it still has that creamy flavor we all know as cookies & cream.
My favorite however is the “Popcorn Situation”. Just as innovative and packing the biggest punch of flavor, It is decadent, creamy, rich, and so much more. A cheesy butter cake with popcorn ice cream, there's not much more you could ask for.
A restaurant deserving of its fame and deserving of a Michelin Star Rating. If you can get a reservation, do it!