Winning season 4 of “Top Chef” gave Stephanie Izard star-chef status, but her new Windy City eatery, Girl & The Goat (809 W. Randolph St.), is stealing the spotlight with its ever-changing locavore plates, house-stuffed sausages and craft beer bent. “We pour beers from Half Acre, Two Brothers—so many awesome beers,” she says. “And we use Goose Island Sofie in our tempura batters, and Three Floyds’ beer in our cheddar sauce.” But even the chef has to eat: Here, Stephanie shares her favorite Chicago spots to dine and drink.
1. After work, we all go to the Paramount Room (415 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and stay until 4 in the morning. It has a really nice beer selection—not as big as The Map Room’s, but full of interesting imports and locals like Three Floyds. Of course, I still order a few PBRs if I’m in for a long night of drinking.
2. San Soo Gab San (5247 N. Western Ave., 773.334.1589) is a great little Korean place with a nice beer selection. The chop chae—vegetables and beef with glass noodles—is my favorite, but if you have enough people, they bring out little grills and you can cook at your table. I’ll go with a group of 20 people and stay until the early morning, cooking all night.
3. My friend Gil owns Chalkboard (4343 N. Lincoln Ave.) up north, and I love eating there. The menu changes every week. I love scallops, and the scallop appetizer is the best; it has candied kalamata olives, fried sage, toasted walnuts and vanilla bean mayo.
4. When I have company in town, I go to Avec (615 W. Randolph St.); that’s been my go-to for years. It’s almost like a smaller version of Girl & the Goat. They have this flatbread that they put truffle oil and cheese and herbs in the middle of, and it’s just gooey and delicious; you always end up with a crowd of people around you trying to share it.
5. I live near The Bristol (2152 N. Damen Ave.), which has really cool, local-focused food, and I go there for brunch. They have braised pork chilaquiles at brunch, and whenever I see chilaquiles on a menu, I always order it.
6. There’s a great new barbecue place in Wicker Park called Lillie’s Q (91856 W. North Ave.) that’s super-casual and just a fun place to hang out. There’s a lot of great beer, great pork, and the chef has a bunch of huge custom smokers in the kitchen; the first time I went, I had to ask him to let me back there to see them!
OUR PICK: A dim, low-key lounge in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar (954 N. California Ave.) hits the tavern trifecta: There are 30-plus well-edited beer picks like Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA and Malheur Brut Reserve Dark; a wine selection popping with intriguing bubbly; and chef Duncan Biddulph’s menu of superb, seasonal small plates like oil-poached fingerling potatoes topped with tapenade, bacon, candied hazelnuts and a farm-fresh egg.