Little Goat Diner

February 20 2013 - 11:00 AM

As you’ve probably heard, Stephanie Izard of Top Chef fame opened another restaurant in the West Loop in October. Little Goat is located directly across the street from its (older) sister restaurant, Girl & the Goat and features a more casual “upscale diner” feel. The menu itself is massive, offering day-long breakfast, sandwiches and large dinner entrees, in addition to a selection of homemade baked goods from its connected bakery, Little Goat Bread. In fact, you can stop directly into Little Goat Bread for a fresh pastry or a cup of Portland’s best, Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

The diner space is large and had a much classier feel than your typical diner. While Little Goat does not take reservations, patrons are welcome to sit at the expansive counter near the open kitchen, or one of the communal tables near the entrance. I stopped by post-work on a Wednesday and only had to wait about 15 minutes for a booth. I decided to order a few items to share with the table in order to try as many of Izard’s creations as possible. The hot crab dip appetizer is ooey gooey cheesy goodness, served up with a side of Ritz crackers. While the dip may be decadent, the Ritz crackers brought it back down to its diner reality. I would have preferred a bit more Ritz crackers to scoop up the remaining drizzles of crab and cheese but it was utterly delicious.

I had high expectations for the side of buttered dinner rolls we tried because of the separate bread menu and shop, and boy, did it live up to the hype. The pull-apart buns were smothered in a butter that was both spicy and sweet. The texture was similar to a brioche or challah and was one of my favorite items of the night. How good can a piece of bread be? Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

We had to scoop up something with that buttery bread so we tried one of the larger dishes on the diner menu, the seafood Boo Boo Baise. The entree with a funny name featured several types of seafood including whitefish, mussels and shrimp, all on top of a bed of veggies and mashed potatoes. The portion was huge but for the price, I think I expected a little more seafood. Nonetheless, it was tasty and comforting.

The burger menu at Little Goat offers three patty options with your choice of six preparations. Our server raved about the wing style burger so we went with his recommendation, paired with a Slagel Farms beef patty. The burger was served a la carte but was so massive, I couldn’t imagine it being paired with a side. The perfectly-cooked beef was smothered with a tangy and slightly spicy wing sauce, blue cheese, fried onions and celery.  The bun itself was another example of their bread expertise and excellently held together all of those juicy ingredients. If you’re not looking to get a little messy, don’t order this one.

After all of those heavy menu options, I was glad I wore jeggings, but I just had to end the night with something sweet. I was intrigued by the milkshake offerings, including a smoked pork & toffee crunch option. I was beyond glad I ordered this. The bottom was filled with a thick layer of toffee bits and the top was swirled with salty bacon bites that helped offset the sweetness of the shake. This was hands down the highlight of the meal. I only wish I had more room in my belly to finish every last sip. We also tried the tiramisu shake, a must-order for chocolate lovers. It was like drinking pure chocolate velvet.

Overall, the food at Little Goat lived up to all of the hype. It was by-far the most decadent meal I’ve ever had, but hey, you have to go all out at a place like this!

What are your favorite items on Little Goat’s menu?

–Amanda Topper