CHICAGO (WLS) --Very few New York City-based restaurant groups have lasted in Chicago, but that trend is changing due, in part, to the Union Square Hospitality Group.
The group founded the Shake Shack and now have a new project called Green River, located in part of Northwestern's vast downtown hospital system.
The obvious nods to the local soda and the St. Patrick's Day tradition aside, Green River has the distinction of being the best bar and restaurant located inside a medical building, anywhere, ever.
"It's an odd neighborhood, we have the medical campus here, but there's tens of thousands of people that live, just within four or five blocks from here," Aaron Lirette, of Green River, said.
Once you get to the 18th floor, you'll see why the location is key. Fantastic warm weather patio, met with ambitious cocktails inside, a collaboration with New York City's Dead Rabbit team.
"We have a huge Irish background here in Chicago as you know, so they wanted to really come up with creative drinks and by naming them and also telling a story of that heritage through the drink list," Lirette said.
The Gray Wolf is one of many creative drinks, featuring 12 year-old Japanese whiskey, Benedictine liquor, plum vinegar and grapefruit zest. As for the food?
"I think the food is approachable fine-dining," Lirette said.
Saffron pasta is bumped up with vermouth and white wine, plus some pureed uni, or sea urchin, for a note of umami.
A chilled Maine lobster salad, meanwhile, looks nothing like its cousins at other restaurants -- whipped crme fraiche, potatoes that are marinated in a bit of lemon olive oil, chives, carrots in different forms - a raw carrot juice gel, raw carrot shavings - celery that has been compressed in a bit of celery juice and lovage.
So the two dilemmas at Green River are the location of course - you've first got to seek it out up on the 18th floor - but then the second, more important issue is what are you going to do? Dinner or cocktails or, in my case, probably both.
259 E. Erie