Little Goat Diner's Kimchi Reuben Sandwich | West Loop, Chicago

Stephanie Izard loves her Korean cabbage

It's far from the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of diner food.

And yet there it is, sprinkled across the menu at Stephanie Izard's new Little Goat: kimchi, that funky, fermented emblem of Korean cuisine.

It currently appears in five iterations: as a garnish for a pan-seared pork chop; stirred into mayonnaise to dress a Korean burger; with bacon, eggs and an Asian-style pancake; accompanying pork belly and brandade in a fried-egg Benedict; and tucked into the meaty, cheese-draped folds of a Reuben.

That Reuben ($12) is a revelation, with spiced, vinegary kimchi reaching flavorful heights that sauerkraut can only dream of. It's a spectacular version of the sandwich, not so overstuffed as to be ungainly, served on exemplary pretzel rye baked next door.

Izard's kimchi appreciation began in her formative kitchen years on post-work trips to eat Korean barbecue. It's commemorated not only on Little Goat's menu, but in bottle form: The Chee, a bottled version of the restaurant's kimchi marinade ($9.75; buy online here), hit the shelves of Izard's restaurants last week.

Izard recommends adding the seafood-free condiment to mayonnaise, stirring it into melted butter to make a kimchi wing sauce, or using it as a marinade for roasted pork shank.

Little Goat, 820 W. Randolph St.; 312-888-3455 or