The reasonably-authentic flavors from Stephanie Izard and Boka Group's Duck Duck Goat have left Phil Vettel more-than-reasonably pleased, as the Tribune critic awarded the restaurant three stars. Vettel lauded Izard for her "restaurant inspired by Chinese flavors and techniques, respectful of tradition but not bound to it."
Izard's R&D in China paid off as she's blurred the line between authentic and originality, and Vettel can't easily tell the difference. The xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and Peking duck are among Chicago's best, particularly the duck: "The breast meat is sliced, the leg-thighs are intact and every single bite is a treat."
The handmade noodles also tickle Vettel's fancy, as he advises finding a table near the kitchen so diners can watch staff make them. Izard said she isn't a super fan of spicy dishes, and that's shown in her version of dan dan noodles: "Often disappointingly mild or tonsil-torching hot at other venues, here they strike just the right balance; the pepper level is persuasively warm, but not to the extent that one misses the umami pleasure of sesame paste or the satisfying texture of the long, slippery noodles."