My lady and I walked into the Girl & the Goat at 7ish on a Friday night with no reservation and were eating within 45 minutes, sure we were at the bar but it wasn't long after that that the hostess called our name for a table. We decided to stay at the bar and let a friend I'd bumped into take the table but, like I said, 7 on a Friday night and less than an hour wait is not something that can be complained about. The only thing I didn't love about this place was the space itself. I felt like the decor was a bit disjointed, exposed brick, charred wooden planks, reclaimed wrought iron fire place dealies gives most of the restaurant a rustic feel that much of the menu shares but the bar area did not. That being said, this place is amazing. I'm a big fan of the smaller shareable plates style of eating so that was a winner for me. My date and I started with a loaf of fresh baked bread with a Wisconsin beer cheddar and a plate of oysters that were light and delicious. From there we ordered a few plates to share; pan fried shisheto peppers, sauteed skate, wood roasted pig face, and a goat belly served with lobster and crab meat that simply melted in your mouth. Everything was perfect from the cocktails to the food to the service. Get here soon.
350 West Mart Center DriveChicago, IL 60654
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We were so excited when Richie opened this bistro in Mt. Greenwood - we had been long-time customers of his Blue Island Pizza joint, Giuseppe's, and anticipated a more adult place to dine. Our first two or three meals here were delightful, an elegant departure from the typical casual offerings of the neighborhood. Business must have been good, because an expansion soon followed, but the quality of the cuisine began to slip. Were we becoming jaded? We found more to complain about - the menu seldom changed, and the ingredients seemed less fresh. The service suffered at times, and the overall experience simply not what it had been in those first heady months after opening. Richie recently renovated Giuseppe's, now called Richie's Too (see review) and quite frankly, we'd rather go there now. The homemade Italian dishes and sauces done so well at Richie's Too are almost absent here, and the bistro-style fare seems tired. Now that his little family place has grown into an elegant swan, the big sister seems tatty. After all, it is all about the food. We will continue to visit Richie's, in the hopes that improvements will come, and because there are simply so few choices in the area. But we are getting a little tired of settling.
It is so hard to find a restaurant that still serves the full relish tray, so impressive to the under-twelve crowd, that harsh criticism seems to stick in one's craw. Ken's is the kind of restaurant that our parents took us to, and made us wear a tie. It is the kind of place that served a "businessman's lunch", with Manhattans aplenty. The food is mostly old-style and hearty, and the portions suited to that fabled businessman. Certainly the recipes have been lovingly handed down since the Eisenhower Administration. There are no surprises, and the familiarity is nostalgia-inducing. They are tolerant of children diners, and the waitstaff seems to have collective eons of experience. Prima-donna diners stay away; new-fangled notions of cuisine and atmosphere will not be tolerated. Is the food good? Yes. Is it comfortable? Yes. Is the service acceptable? Yes. Could Ken's be described as "hip","trendy" or in any way "nouveau"? Never, ever. The place is a museum of mid-century fine dining; they'll be griping about the smoking ban for decades. Wear vintage clothing and Brylcreem and you might have a total time-travel experience.