LITTLE GOAT DINER

I was fortunate enough to make it to Little Goat Diner when I was in Chicago. If you are not aware, Little Goat Diner is the 2nd installment in the restaurant empire of Stephanie Izard, Top Chef winner, season 4.

Little Goat Diner and its adjoining neighbor opened to much anticipation in December of 2012. Little Goat Bakery provides all of the baked goods for the diner, the restaurant across the street, and the booth at the Chicago French market.

The interior of the diner is airy and modern, with soft gray and gold softening the light in the diner. An open-air kitchen faces the main seating area.

When we asked for a seat, we were told we would have to wait for 45 minutes and would receive a text when our table was ready. So in the meantime, we decided to check out the bakery next door.

I was lucky to catch the guy behind the counter singing out names of customers. It definitely added to the atmosphere!

The pastries sold here were pretty interesting, including a cherry chocolate chili bagel, a blueberry fennel scone, and a cherry-corn cupcake. We had other plans though, so filling up on pastries didn’t seem like such a good idea.

We found two stools at the bar, and upon making ourselves comfortable, were informed that the bar was full service. It was nice to know we didn’t have to wait 45 minutes. That was all we needed, and we got right into settling in.

First order of business: coffee with goat’s milk and goat’s milk cajeta. It’s not often that you see goat’s milk coffee on a menu, so we gave it a try. According to the bartender, it’s made with half goat’s milk, half cow’s milk, and goat’s milk cajeta.

THE LITTLE GOAT

For Breakfast we saw quite a few interesting dishes but settled on a couple with a distinctive Asian bent.

KIMCHEE & BACON & EGGS & PANCAKES ASIAN STYLE BREAKFAST TASTY THING

Yes, that is the official name of this dish. By whatever name, this was a really tasty breakfast dish, though a bit unexpected. House Kim Chi, crispy pieces of bacon and fluffy eggs are stuffed inside pancake batter. An overly crispy, caramel edge on the pancake was the highlight of the dish. A handful of fresh bean sprouts and scallion keep the dish fresh and light. A simple sauce of what seems to be sherry, soy and sesame adds the needed acidity.

BRANDADE & BELLY

This dish was the collective favorite at the table. For starters, the biscuits were ethereal, light and tender: the biscuits I wish I could make. Topped with a delicious Brandade, crispy pork belly, two perfectly cooked sunny side up eggs, Kim chi, and pickled banana peppers, I could eat this for breakfast everyday and be perfectly content. Portions here are generous, luckily, or we would have been fighting over the last bite of that bacon/biscuit/Kim chi mash-up.

TEMPURA MASHED POTATOES

For our last taste of the day, we took a ride to Tater Town and ordered the Tempura mashed potatoes. So creamy in the middle with a crispy crust, they were accompanied by shredded vegetables, Asian BBQ, and house ranch dressing. Everything that I love about potatoes was in this dish. The creaminess, the earthiness, all perfectly contained in a crispy little Tempura shell.

Honestly, the menu at Little Goat is so extensive; you could eat at the diner everyday for a week, for 3 squares, and still not sample everything. While quite a few of the dishes were mainstream, there were just as many that were unusual with interesting combinations. We sat next to someone at the bar who ordered poached eggs on toast. Simple dishes will appeal to your picky spouse, while the more adventurous dishes will bring the adventurous eaters by the dozens. Overall, the menu and selection is a bonanza for those playing it safe as well as the diner that likes to eat on the edge of the seat.

One thing to say about the blossoming Izard empire: she does really a great job a promoting her brand. Her goat logo is easy to remember; you can even by a goat bobble head doll if you want to bring the Izard experience home with you.

Make sure to pop in the next time you are in Chicago!

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