**** (4 stars)
Sitting at the counter watching the frenzied chefs in the kitchen cranking out perfect dish after perfect dish is a lot like watching an episode of Top Chef. But it’s also a lot like being in a tile box with 150 people screaming to be heard… because that’s exactly what it is.
Somewhere along the line restaurant designers decided that people wanted to eat in a loud environment because it made them feel like they were in a happening scene. They achieved this by not bothering to hire acoustic engineers. But even an authentic diner doesn’t have that kind of ambiance. It’s a place where you can hear the rattle of cutlery, and the waitress chatting up the regulars. There’s certainly no chance of that here.
But the food is wonderful. Each dish is Stephanie Izard’s take on traditional cuisine, with her own twists. And those twists are exceptional.
Okonomiyaki is a wonderful Japanese breakfast pancake/egg dish with a delicious combination of savory sauces and crunchy bits to add texture.
Tempura fried mashed potatoes are light, with a perfectly crisp and not oily shell.
And One Twisted Sundae is a decadent sweet/salty combination of pretzel ice cream, caramel sauce, and whipped cream.
There are an interesting cocktail menu and a limited selection of beer and wine, but if you want to go authentic you can choose from fountain drinks, shakes and floats.
I guess the service is good. I couldn’t hear well enough to tell.
Little Goat Diner
820 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607