I have been lucky enough to dine at Girl and the Goat a few times before. The first time I went, I absolutely ADORED the food. It was whimsical and complex, with interesting flavor combinations and creative dishes I would never have imagined. While I still enjoy the creativity of the menu, the last few times I have gone to Girl and the Goat I have left feeling like something was missing. I was able to dine at Girl and the Goat Friday night, and ultimately felt that though the prices were extremely reasonable and the atmosphere is super fun, the food was so over-salted that it made it difficult to distinguish any of the flavors.
That aside, one thing I do love about Girl and the Goat is how clearly you can see chef Stephanie Izard's influence on every dish in the menu. Izard is actually french for a type of goat (the Pyrenean chamois, apparently), which I have read is where her fixation on the animal comes from. Each time I come to Girl and the Goat I try something from the "Goat" section of the menu, and it is almost always among the strongest of the night.
I love how the menu is organized: veggies, fish, and meats each have their separate category, and then breads, oysters, and goat items have their own mini-menu. For two people, its great to order one veggie, one fish, one meat, and 1-2 special items to have a well rounded meal.
|Breads, Oysters and Goats|
We started off our meal with the "Lake Effect" and "Mayan Miscalculation" for drinks, neither of which we were impressed with. They were both a bit bitter, and not in an enjoyable way. We switched after this to Allagash White, one of my favorite beers, which ended up being a much better choice with the food (especially since it was so salty!).
Raw Kusshi Oysters: muscatel mignonette, tarragon
On previous visits, I had enjoyed the wood-fired Wiley Point oysters, which were delicious with a creamy horseradish sauce and little bits of bacon on top. This time, we decided to change things up and try the raw Kusshi oysters, as we had tried Kusshis previously and really enjoyed them. These were great as well. The mignonette was sweet but not overpowering, and complemented the salinity of the oysters well. This was a great and refreshing start to the meal.
Goat Carpaccio: smoked trout roe, olive-maple vinaigrette
This was my favorite of the night. The raw goat was meaty and tender, and the smoked trout roe was awesome- super smokey, with a nice pop when I bit down on them. The greens on top were extremely bitter on their own, but served as a good counterpoint to prevent the rest of the dish from becoming too salty. Definitely a recommended dish here.
Pan Roasted Arctic Char: sunchoke, ruby red grapefruit, gordal olive, crisp lentils
Unfortunately, this is where the meal began to go downhill. We were excited to order the char as we have been cooking it at home fairly often (try it instead of salmon next time you're at Whole Foods- its awesome!), but this was wholly disappointing. The entire dish was mushy and over-salted. Had there been some sort of textural component it would have tasted less like baby food, but between the wilted greens, the strange, melted-down grapefruit, and the unnecessary salty pop of the olives, this was pretty much a mess.
Sauteed Green Beans: fish sauce vinaigrette, cashews
I've ordered the green beans, one of the restaurants most acclaimed dishes, on several occasions. They vary from being perfectly cooked green beans in a crack-laced (not that I do crack, chill out guys) fish sauce, to being COMPLETELY overpowered and tasting only like very fishy salt. However, the boyfriend had never had them and is a BIG fan of green beans, so I thought he should try one of her famous dishes. Tonight, they fell somewhere in between the spectrum. They were still very salty, but the flavors were still enjoyable and the fish sauce vinaigrette and interesting way to amp up the simple green bean. Anyone going to Girl and the Goat for the first time should try them- but be warned that the salt factor is EXTREMELY high.
Braised Beef Cheeks: dirty fried rice, onion salad, pickled mushroom
From the meats menu, we decided to try something different that we wouldn't normally order or find anywhere else. I unfortunately was fairly full at this point, and in a happy post- three Allagash White state, so I don't remember exactly what this was like. The beef cheeks were definitely tender and had a great, meaty flavor, but I do recall that this was also extremely salty. At this point I'm pretty sure we were about to go into a sodium-induced coma, so this wasn't exactly ideal.
Even though many items we ordered were over-salted misses, I still had a great time at Girl and the Goat. The service was great, and the atmosphere here is perfect for a Friday night out. While I don't think the restaurant lives up to the hype, it is definitely worth scheduling a reservation on Opentable... just make sure you have enough time in advance, as this place is typically booked MONTHS in advance. Though, if you're persistent, sometimes openings pop up if you check Opentable and I've been able to snag a 7:45 same night reservation before.
Give it a try for the vibe and the famous chef, if anything, and go in expecting not culinary perfection, but a fun time with some innovative eats.
My rating: 3.5 stars.