Duck Duck Goat
I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe in fate. And on Saturday night everything fell into place. After anxiously planning and awaiting the launch of my restaurant blog- unsure and doubting how and when to do it. A received the best sign I could have imagined. A fortune cookie, rather, make that a deconstructed fortune cookie…
“Try your hand at a new hobby- watercolors could be fun!”
We arrived for our reservation early. Eager to soak in the new goat vibe over a drink with friends. As the hostess led us past the bar I feared for a moment we would go straight for our table and our night would end oh to quickly! Instead, we were surprised to be led past the main bar area and into a separate bar room to wait for our table. A smaller room more akin to a den than a bar. As we elbowed our way over to our friends and settled in- I was suddenly struck by the emerald green room surrounding me. The room felt intimate and somehow chic amidst the pink floyd playing in the background. A petite bar honing subway tiles, golden goats adorning the bar shelving, potted ferns, and an exotic carpet. Had I finally made it to the in-crowd of the Chicago bar scene? I had to pause and remind myself that I wasn’t a few blocks over in The Office. This was only enhanced by the intriguingly limited bar menu… My favorite pick for a cocktail was the Not Your Fortune Cookie. A perfect blend of rye and egg whites… wait, what? Yup, and it was amazing. And did I mention it was garnished with a vibrant orange flower? One drink in and we were ready, and antsy, for our meal to start.
Tipsy and hungry we made our way to our table. Passing by our fellow dinners one can’t help but notice the different decor and subsequent personality that boasts each room, yet unifies them all. We took our seats in the first room where old family photos with antique frames are layered on the upper half of the walls. On the glass of each frame are curious pieces of red tape shaped in thick dots and lines. I later learned the meaning behind the red tape on the glass of each picture. To draw the eye up and let the pictures pop from the purposely warn yellow wall paper. This is the point in my life I finally concluded that Stephanie Izard is the hippest person in Chicago. Nailing it from design to food in the most unexpected of ways.
My indecisive ordering hit me the moment we sat down. Sending me into a salivating doozy as I glanced through them menu. So I did my usual stint and asked the waitress for all the advice I could squeeze out of her. Something that I can’t help myself from doing during any indecisive ordering moment. (And likely what my husband finds to be one of my more “charming” qualities.) We made it clear we weren’t afraid of leftovers and up for trying anything. Similar to Girl & the Goat all plates are meant to be shared. Our waitress recommended 8-10 dishes between the four of us so we obviously settled for 12 dishes.
Within minutes we were greeted with our dim sum; crab rangoon, scallion pancakes, Jiazo potstickers, and wood fired char siu ribs. And by the genius advice of our waitress, pickled cucumber to help cut the richness of our dim sum. Helping us cleanse the palette so we could keep going back for more. Oddly enough, the pickled cucumbers became one of our favorite dishes and was soon wiped clean. The potstickers were a decadent mix of beef short ribs and bone marrow pre slathered in a homemade soy sauce and garnished with red thai chile. The biggest highlight of the dim sum were the scallion pancakes. Perfectly doughy, filled with flakes of scallion, and the ability to self load as much cole-slaw-hoison goodness as we wanted. I found myself regularly day dreaming about those pancakes all week long.
Between each bite I enjoyed sips of a refreshing and unique Ginger and Lemon Radler from Kansas Cities Boulevard Brewing Co. I’m now anxiously awaiting the release of this beer to the rest of the Chicagoland. (It’s currently only available at Izard’s restaurant.) I can envision myself sipping away at this brew all summer long while basking in the sunshine.
Enough on the booze, it’s time to eat.
Without any time to spare our table was soon filled with dishes of noodles and meats galore. We filled our plates with beef slap noodles, silver needle noodles, moo shu pork, chongqing chicken, crispy frog legs with potatoes, seafood fried rice, and duck fried rice. From our table we watched one of the chefs (whom I recognized from Girl & The Goat) role, slap, and pull each noodle in preparation for the slap noodle dishes. We all agreed the garlicky broth in the silver needle noodles was meant to be slurped to the vary last drop. The frog legs were reminiscent of a supremely tender sweet and sour chicken wing. Also a fun dish for those that have never tried a frog leg and are looking for a new culinary adventure! The biggest highlight here was by far the duck friend rice. Topped with a soft cooked duck egg. Ready for the runny yolk to be broken and mixed into the savory duck rice deliciousness below. A blast of flavor that surprised us all. The dish was decadent and somehow seemed to sum up the meal as a whole.
We soon traded in our chopsticks for doggy bags. Finishing our meal with deconstructed fortune cookies. Thin, buttery, and soft cookies accompanied with fortunes on pins. I waited patiently as everyone else took their fortune. Trusting that the last one left would be the one meant for me. And alas, it was fate. Cheers to new adventures for both Stephanie and I.