Sunday, July 9, 2017

Green River- Brunch

While there are many restaurants that offer brunch, even many that offer a very good brunch, the number gets smaller when I have to consider party size.  There are a few places that I like, but would not set a brunch up there because I don't think that they could easily handle the large parties that I frequently have for my large brunches.  Green River has been on my to do list since shortly after it opened, but I had the idea that it was a smaller place so I thought that while I could come for dinner, they would be hard pressed to handle a larger party.  A couple of friends wanted to meet for brunch, though, and wanted to do a rooftop, so I decided that it would be a good time to check it out.  Located on the 18th Floor of Northwestern Hospital in Streeterville, there is a sign for direction on the main floor.  The elevator opens to a hall with the main restaurant and the host station to the left.  Located near, and named for, the river that gets dyed green for St. Patrick's Day, the restaurant is known both for it's fantastic terrace and it's nod to the cities Irish heritage which can be noted in their fantastic cocktails.  While the interior did look very nice with a lot of marble used on the floor and bar as well as with dividers between the booths.  Heavy light colored wood is used for the chairs and the booths and couch are upholstered with leather.  The main room did look very nice, but we were interested in the terrace which used modern and well made patio furniture.  The tables were dark wood and the chairs were stainless steel with a woven seat and back.  While we sat close to the building, there was nowhere that didn't provide a great view (and there were areas where there weren't tables that seemed to be made for balcony pictures).  Green River quickly became a Michelin Star restaurant, but they are also very well known for their cocktails.  That being said, trying at least one cocktail was a must.  The cocktails are divided on the menu by the grain, seed, or fruit used in the base spirit.  For my first cocktail, I started with Juniper.  There were two spirits on the menu based on Juniper, Gin and Genever.  I started with Gin and a drink called Haley's Comet.  It started with Sipsmith Gin, and used Aveze Gentiane, a French bitter using the Gentian root, Passion Fruit, Lemon, Kaffir Lime Leaf, and topped with Cava.  This was a tart, sparkling drink served in a cava glass.  It was very refreshing and a nice sipping drink.
When I go out for brunch, I do like to hit both sweet and savory.  They had a Cinnamon Roll on the menu that I happened to see before I ordered and saw that it also was a must.  It was big and sticky looking and served on a board.  It was topped with a Cream Cheese Frosting that did make it very sticky.  There was a lot of cinnamon and it had a crusty outside and a very soft inside.  While I would normally eat a cinnamon roll by hand, it was so sticky that I would have ended up wearing as much as I ate.  It was very good and I really enjoyed it despite having to eat it with knife and fork.
For the savory side, I went with  Fried Chicken and Cheddar Biscuits with Sausage Gravy and an Arugula Salad.  This reminded me of three brunch favorites, a breakfast sandwich, Chicken and Waffles, and Biscuits and Gravy.  While it couldn't be eaten by hand as a sandwich could most of the time, it presented the best parts of all of these dishes.  The biscuits were flavorful and tender, the arugula provided some peppery green, the sausage gravy, was rich, with a lot of sausage and pepper and went well with everything, and the chicken had a crispy breading and was juicy and tender.  Minus the gravy, it might have been eaten with difficulty by hand, and that probably would have been the easiest way to achieve the correct ratio of everything in a single bite.  It could be done with knife and fork, but it was a little more difficult, but it was good and everything went together well.
To finish things off, I had another cocktail, this one from the Grape and Apple section.  Called a Tommy Gun, it had Kappa Chilean Pisco, Pineapple, Lime, Garam Masala, and Aromatic Bitters.  This drink was very complex and very good.  It had the flavors of a Pisco Sour, and a Tiki drink, with flavors of Curry.  As odd as it might sound, it was very good, and a very good finish to our brunch.

Looking around the space, I wondered about the possibility of doing a larger scale brunch here and talking to the manger, I found that it could be done although probably not on the terrace.  I was shown around and got to see their event space/alternate cocktail lounge, The Annex.  When it is operating as The Annex, it has it's own food and cocktail menu, but it can be used for larger parties and brunch and it also has a fantastic view even if it is enclosed.  I really enjoyed my time here, so I will have to include it on my list of upcoming restaurants to visit.

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