When Stephanie Izard opens a restaurant, people go crazy; the dining world stands still. It’s the culinary equivalent of Adele releasing a new tear-jerker. Except in Izard’s case, the only tears you’ll be shedding are tears of spice-induced joy. Get ready to weep, because her hotly anticipated new Chinese restaurant, Duck Duck Goat, is officially open for business.
In line with her previous crowd-pleasers Girl & the Goat and Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat is a powerhouse partnership with Boka Restaurant Group, this time positioned along Fulton Market a few blocks from her previous restaurants. Inspired by travels throughout China and American Chinatowns, Izard fuses the regional and the traditional with the guilty pleasure comforts of crab rangoon and scallion pancakes.
From her earliest childhood food memories of recreating Chinese restaurant staples at home with her mom to her travels and experiences as an adult, Duck Duck Goat serves as a thorough representation of an award-winning chef’s take on one of the most beloved—and most diverse—cuisines on the planet. The menu reads like a choose-your-own-adventure of provincial delights, dotting around China for noodles, buns, dumplings, pancakes, chicken, duck and of course goat galore.
The menu at Duck Duck Goat contains seven sections: dim sum, hot soups, cold dishes, noodles, fried rice, mains and large dishes, ensuring there’s something for pretty much everyone, regardless of whether or not your notions of Chinese food are hinged on food courts or journeys through Shanghai. Start with Izard’s take on crab rangoon, a notable step up from typical delivery fare thanks to handmade dough (actually, all doughs at Duck Duck Goat are made from scratch every morning) and a cream cheese-crab filling that leans less on the former and more on the high-quality latter. Rice dumplings stuffed with ground goat is another savorous starter. The goat theme carries over into the noodles, from the hand-pulled “slap noodles” with shrimp, goat sausage and eggplant, to the goat belly lo mein. In terms of heftier portions, shareable options include crispy frog legs and potato with housemade oyster sauce, which is interestingly made with Dark Matter coffee.
It’s not terribly often a Chinese restaurant employs its own pastry chef, let alone one with impressive clout. Previously at Nellcôte and RM Champagne Salon, Nate Meads mans the largely Taiwanese-inspired dessert program, and the results are some of the most exciting and playful desserts to descend on Chicago in recent memory. Taiwanese pineapple cake, almond tofu panna cotta, egg waffle wrapped in sweet potato gelato and shaved ice with blueberry sorbet and condensed milk caramel drizzle are some of the standouts. The restaurant even has fun with their own quirky fortune cookies made in freshly baked cookies.
All this in a multi-room space designed by AvroKO to recall entrancing, thematic imagery of the most Americana of Chinatowns, with each dining area harkening to a type of Chinese storefront. It’s as if Hollywood Chinese Theatre became a restaurant, complete with a bar fashioned after an outdoor pavilion.
Duck Duck Goat is now open seven days a week for dinner.