Duck Duck Goat

Restaurants, Chinese West Loop
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(8user reviews)
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Stephanie Izard’s Duck Duck Goat provides a pretty space but lacks quality food for the price.

The first time I visited Duck Duck Goat was at 10:45pm on a Wednesday—the only reservation I could secure shortly after the opening (though I’ve since had better success asking for bar seats as a walk-in). It’s hard to get prime time reservations at many of Top Chef star Stephanie Izard’s restaurants (Girl and the Goat and Little Goat Diner), due to her cult-like popularity. It’s not unfounded; her restaurants are pretty to look at, with eye-catching menus and trendy facades. Duck Duck Goat boasts three dining rooms: A small intimate front room with two- and four-tops, a room that houses a bar and a back room for larger groups (outfitted with lazy Susans). Paper lanterns light the dark space and red stools line the bar, giving the restaurant an upscale feel.

Izard bills her latest concept as “reasonably authentic Chinese food,” which feels like a fair assessment. You’ll see familiar, if wanly executed, dishes like seafood fried rice ($17)—too greasy to eat with chopsticks, the only utensil provided, no matter how many ways you try to scoop it out of the bowl. Xiao long bao ($11) come five per order, and while the taste is there, these prove to be far too large to fit into your mouth resulting in a big brothy mess. At these prices—both about $5 more than variations we’ve enjoyed in Chinatown—these dishes should be fantastic.

Not everything is sub-par: Tender hongshao rao (braised pork) served with a hefty side of rice was by far, the highlight of my meals. Dessert brings a blueberry rhubarb ice dish, with blueberry and chile sorbet, rhubarb ice, corn cereal and condensed milk—interesting but all over the place, with so many textures it’s hard to discern what you’re tasting.

On the upside, service is a delight—attentive and quick with recommendations. But a nice venue and good service only get you so far—the experience can feel like putting a posh frame around dishes we’d rather be having at more affordable Chinatown spots.

On the other hand, the Duck Duck Goat walk-up window is a delight: Taiwanese beef noodle soup comes teeming with house-made egg noodles that have a great bite, the beef broth is savory with just the right hint of spice. Fried rice comes in arancini-like balls with pork sausage and bacon, perfect for lunch.

While the walk-up window is worth returning for, the dinner dishes feel like they’ve gone one step too far, using too many ingredients to compensate for what they lack in quality. If you want decent Chinese food at a premium price point, Duck Duck Goat will do, but you’ll find better (and much cheaper) renditions of these dishes if you’re willing to venture to Chinatown.

Vitals:

Atmosphere: Duck Duck Goat draws aesthetic inspiration from American Chinatowns, but with an upscale twist. Bright reds and seafoam green colors dominate the space, while the bar sports charming strings of lights that illuminate the darker space.

What to eat: Hongshao rao and beef slap noodles inside the restaurant. Takeout window favorites include beef soup and fried rice. 

What to drink: The drink menu changes frequently, but our favorites have been the refreshing Silk Road highball with gin and the spirit-forward whiskey-based Facing West.

Where to sit: We enjoyed our time at the bar the most. Reservations will put you all over the restaurant, from a two-top up front to larger parties in the room past the bar.

By: Elizabeth Atkinson

Posted:

Venue name: Duck Duck Goat
Contact:
Address: 857 W Fulton Market
Chicago
60607
Opening hours: Mon–Thurs 4:30–11pm. Fri–Sat 4:30pm–12am. Sun 10am–11pm
Transport: El: Green/Pink line to Morgan. Bus: 8.
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Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|8
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Irina G
tastemaker

I was told to get the duck so i got the duck. It was pretty amazing but for the price I will say that I still have other favorite spots for peking duck in the city. That said, the rest of the items on the menu looked incredible and the ambiance is worth just hanging out here regardless of the food. The standouts were actually the desserts, which included a grape shaved ice that was just OUT OF THIS WORLD. I'll definitely be back to try some of the dim sum offerings, when I can get a reservation! :)

Sadie Rose
tastemaker

As background, I set reservations for DDG 2.5 months in advance for a prime 7pm Friday night table. I was pumped. The Friday came and.... I got the flu. With no shame, I ordered $60 worth of food for delivery for 2 because I didn't wait over 2 months not to taste this place. The food was good but I'm bummed to say- I was expecting SO MUCH MORE. I'd probably go again just to see the vibe in the restaurant but I feel like this is one of those "word of mouth" hyped up Chicago restaurants that doesn't actually live up to its reputation. 

Dani Starkey
tastemaker

Walking into Duck Duck Goat is like walking into a grandmother’s fur closet, and I mean that in the best way possible. I was with a party of five (we had a reservation- I don’t recommend trying to wing it with this place, it fills up fast) and we were sat in a room the staff refers to as the “Bob Ross” room due to the paintings adorning the walls. We ordered ten plates, as everything is served family-style. The cocktails were to DIE for- I ordered two of the persimmon and loved them, and everyone else enjoyed theirs as well. I’m not a meat eater but I will consume fish, and it was fantastic. The shui zhuyu (pictured below) is light and flavorful with excellent presentation and comes deboned for prime digging-in ability. If you’re looking for a spin on Chinese cuisine in an ambient setting, this is your place.

Jon C

I'm not quite sure I understand the author's qualms with the xiao long bao... No matter the size, you're supposed to place them in a spoon with some black vinegar, and bite open the wrapper to slurp some of the juice. If you can't fit it all in your mouth, then just eat half on the spoon, and slurp up the rest on your next bite...

And the comment about "too greasy to eat with chopsticks," is also leaving me confused. Eating rice dishes with chopsticks may be unfamiliar to many non-Asians, but I assure you it's doable if you don't expect to shovel mouthfuls in each bite.

I guess what I'm getting at is that these criticisms don't really seem to be objective/informed reviews of the food. Though maybe I'm off base here...

Jyoti G
tastemaker

The bartenders and servers here were so friendly and helpful. The cocktail menu is beautifully crafted. There were multiple drinks I wanted to try on that menu. The decor is great in this restaurant. 

The menu looks very good. We had the spring rolls, shrimp toast, and seafood fried rice. Every item was incredible. The shrimp toast was my favorite, but the seafood fried rice was super creamy and excellent as well. The horseradish dipping sauce that came with the spring rolls was great. 

Zach L
moderator

If you're looking for slavish authenticity, Stephanie Izard latest entry in the Goat empire probably shouldn't be your first stop, but the menu does offer an interesting spin on Chinese cuisine. Some of my favorite dishes were the soup dumplings (difficult to eat, but worth the effort), the slap noodles (perfectly chewy with a bit of spice) and the green beans (essentially pulled directly from the Girl and the Goat's menu). The wait staff is very knowledgable and can guide you to dishes on the somewhat overwhelming menu—follow their lead!

Stephanie L
tastemaker

Well to say I was disappointed is an understatement. Waited 45mins after our reservo. Our table was crammed, crunched, crowded...not enjoyable. It was like checkers to get in or out. Some of the food was really good-potstickers, Dan Dan noodles, scallion pancakes. And some of the food was REALLY bad. Chicken was soooo salty. I felt like my mouth was raw and irritated after. The other two entrees extremely salty as well. Crab Rangoon was bad....the sauce was a gelatinous mess. The manager came to talk to us regarding the dishes we didn't eat...said they were intended to be as we had them...disgustingly salted. Overall, I prefer Chinatown ANYDAY to this place.

Jill F
tastemaker

I went here with a friend soon after it opened, and we ordered seven dishes, plus drinks and dessert. We dined in the fabulous pink room, which was my favorite part of the experience -- the ambiance. Fantastic concept, decor and even music playlist (Robert Palmer covers, heyyyy.) The food itself was fine, but left a little something to be desired for the price point. The fried chicken was a bit dry and the crab nearly unrecognizable in the crab rangoon. The seafood fried rice and shrimp and peanut dumplings were just OK, appetizing but not exciting. The octopus salad was the clear standout. Fresh and flavorful. I would return to Duck Duck Goat to try more dishes, and I would definitely reorder the octopus salad.