Two years and two weeks after Stephanie Izard and crew went to China, the idea that started as a pop-up dinner at Little Goat will officially come to life as a 100-seat restaurant tomorrow. Duck Duck Goat, at 857 W. Fulton Market, brings inspiration from Izard's travels to a space reminiscent of the back alleys of Beijing, markets of Shanghai, and Chicago's own Chinatown.
"My most memorable food experiences growing up were going to the local Chinese restaurants and then recreating those dishes at home in the kitchen with my mom," Izard explains in an official release. "Duck Duck Goat is a combination of my childhood favorites and my interpretation of what I've learned abroad."
Duck Duck Goat is designed by New York City's AvroKO, which recently made its Chicago debut with another Asian-inspired stunner from the Boka Restaurant Group, Momotaro. The design is meant to mirror Chinatowns across the country with a series of small dining rooms marked with entryways that look like storefronts. Faded photographs, beige wallpaper and exposed timber beams are the defining characteristics of one, while red curtains, tasseled lamps and ferns fill another. The centerpiece of the space is an outdoor pavilion-like bar with faux hanging plants, corrugated metal siding, and strings of lights. An open kitchen offers a glimpse of the noodle-pulling and stir-frying action, including Peking ducks hanging in the window. Of course, there will be goats, with gold and jade figurines scattered throughout the space.
The menu is a big one. Three pages are filled with dim sum using house-made dough, hand-pulled noodles, and one covered in photos of Izard's favorites. These include wood-fired duck hearts and shrimp toast from the dim sum section, silver needle noodles with clam and bacon, and Sichuan eggplant with goat sausage. Large parties can dive into whole Peking duck or the "goat of the day" served with Mandarin pancakes. Meals at Duck Duck Goat end, like at any Chinese restaurant worth its salt, with fortune cookies. These are also made in-house and stuffed with cheeky platitudes like "Goonies never say die."
Overall, hardcore Chinese classics are complimented with other elevated takeout standards, such as crab rangoon in fresh wonton wrappers and goat belly lo mein. "Mapo doufu is going to very traditional — spicy and a little bit oily, like you expect when you order mapo doufu," Izard tells Eater. "Lo mein is definitely an Americanize favorite, and it's something that I know people like and we can do it well, because we're making our own oyster sauce and things like that. Some of the Americanized favorites that we're putting on were elevating a little bit by making them ourselves."
Izard's husband Gary Valentine curates an all-can beer program, which features brews meant to not overpower the food — think Boulevard's ginger-lime radler. Cocktails will lean on the savory cocktail side with drinks such as "Loan me a Panda," featuring a beet-apple shrub with Bols Genever, lemon and soda, as well as the "Shao Shsing Redemption," starring agrobybe mushroom-infused whiskey with rice wine, brown sugar syrup and cola bitters. Jeremy Adler oversees the wine list.
Excited to stuff your face with Izard's take on beef and broccoli? Good luck. Reservations opened on OpenTable earlier this week, and the restaurant is basically booked though June. However, it will accept walk-ins.
Duck Duck Goat is open Monday though Thursday and Sunday from 4:30 to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.