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SAVOR GreenRiver opening; Ceres' Table
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 4505 times since Wed Sep 16, 2015
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GreenRiver ( 259 E. Erie St., 18th floor; ) is among a crop of restaurants receiving a lot of buzz before its autumn openings. ( GreenRiver officially opens Sept. 17. )

A media preview was held Sept. 9—and, believe me, there are many impressive aspects to this restaurant. One is the sweeping view of Streeterville and the lake once you step out onto the massive ( and stylish ) terrace. All sorts of modern couches and pillows dot the outside, almost making attendees wish the space opened in late spring or early summer so they can enjoy the exterior a bit more.

As for the food, we sampled a few dishes, and I especially relished the whitefish tartine as well as the farro salad. It's a promising start for Executive Chef Aaron Lirette.

The restaurant is a collaboration between The Best Bar in the World ( BBITW ) and Union Square Events, the catering and venue hospitality business from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. The teaming has also resulted in event spaces that can accommodate up to 300 people, which probably won't be too hard to get in an area dominated by Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University.

GreenRiver is supposed a modern Irish-themed restaurant—and, at least to me, the motif wasn't readily apparent. However, a closer look at the cocktail menu ( which organized by basic ingredient—which is not the same as the basic spirit ) reveals the stories of famous ( and infamous ) Irish-American Chicagoans. The creative team behind the drinks consists of BBITW's Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, with GreenRiver Head Bartender Julia Momose—not too shabby.

I look forward to trying more items at this restaurant. It'll be interesting to see if it lives up to the buzz.

Craig Degel has joined Lake View restaurant Ceres' Table ( 3124 N. Broadway; ) as its new executive chef. ( Former Executive Chef Giuseppe Scurato will remain aboard as chef emeritus. )

Before moving back to Chicago, Degel was most recently helming the kitchen at Solo Trattoria in Phoenix. In 2013, Degel joined the team at Eataly Chicago—Chef Mario Batali's Italian spot featuring a range of eateries and food markets.

I recently returned to the spot to try Degel's contributions, which continue Scurato's farm-to-table tradition as well as the Sicilian theme of the restaurant's fare.

Savory options include the panzanella salad ( heirloom tomatoes, rustic crouton and basil-avocado green goddess ), crostini ( especially the chicken liver/pickled onion ) and DiStefano burrata. ( By the by, some of these items are part of the expanded bar menu. )

I was also drawn to the Skuna Bay salmon ( flaky and tasty ) as well as the hanger steak ( a little rarer than I usually like, but still quite appealing ). Do not skip the meatballs, in any way; they're divine.

Pastry chef Leticia Zenteno deserves a special shout-out for her offerings, which include millefoglie ( basically a peach Napoleon ), blueberry pie and ( my fave ) salted caramel budino ( with butterscotch cream and chocolate biscotti ).

Also, the drinks are as tasty as ever. I tried the Eighty-Six Mule, a drink that has part of the proceeds go to the "86 Hunger" campaign.

Degel has been a presence at several restaurants over the years. Hopefully, he'll stay at Ceres' Table for a while.

This article shared 4505 times since Wed Sep 16, 2015
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