with Executive Chef Aaron Lirette

Monday, June 20, 2016 –

6:30 p.m.

(18th floor of Northwestern Medicine’s Lavin Family Pavilion)

Business Attire


Enlightened Hospitality Flows at GreenRiver

By TODD ARKEBAUER, Vice-Chargé de Presse Photos by Lorenzo Tassone

On June 20 seventy-four Chaîne Chicago members experienced an extraordinary epicurean adventure at GreenRiver, a new fine dining establishment and upscale cocktail lounge in the city’s Streeterville neighborhood. GreenRiver proved to be the perfect venue to conclude the 2015-2016 season, a summer solstice celebration of stupendous cocktails, cuisine and wine.

Chaîne Chicago bought out the entire 18th-floor restaurant, which was opened in September by renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group. Guests were immediately impressed by the gorgeous sleek space with its floor-to-ceiling windows, spectacular city views, and stunning wrap-around outdoor terrace, where the reception commenced for those willing to brave the steamy evening.

GreenRiver’s head bartender, Julia Momose, has developed one of Chicago’s premier cocktail programs, and attendees were introduced to two of her complex spice-centric cocktails:  the turmeric-driven “Chorus Girl” and “Honey Cartel,” a gin and chartreuse-based drink with hints of green peppercorn. Three passed canapés paired remarkably well with the refreshing libations: smoked whitefish on crunchy bread topped with radish and celery; lobster salad with tarragon on toasted bread discs; and silky smooth asparagus panna cotta with truffle shavings.

Members were then seated for dinner and greeted by Bailli de Chicago Mon Roldan. Superstar Executive Chef Aaron Lirette created a special five-course meal especially for Chaîne Chicago that incorporated luxurious ingredients with exciting twists to his trademark seasonal American fare. The first gastronomic delight was a cold amuse bouche comprised of diced ahi tuna and fresh green strawberries with red wine verjus blanketed with a generous portion of micro-planed foie gras shavings. Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut complemented the delicate flavors of the starter and served well for a warm welcoming toast from Chevalier Kevin Massey.

The first course highlighted super-fresh raw scallop that had been dispatched shortly before being served. Medallions of the firm, sweet shellfish were accompanied by seabean, baby cucumbers and green tomatoes in a cool cucumber broth. A Hungarian wine—2009 Furmint, Oremus Mandolás Dry—was a fine foil for this offering, but even more successful was the cocktail pairing. Julia’s “Geshi Gin & Tonic”, which incorporated St. George Terroir Gin, Yama Yuzu Junmai Sake, saffron and orange bitters and Fever Tree Tonic, elevated the delicate summertime flavors of this outstanding dish.

Members raved about the second course—perfectly cooked ravioli stuffed with duck confit swimming in a classic consommé made from Slagel Family Farm’s dry-aged short-rib bones that was poured tableside and finished with Parmesan cheese. Giacomo Conterno’s 2001 Barbaresco Asili made for a sublime pairing, its bright plum and cedar palate enhancing the delectable pasta. Pastry Chef Ji Hyun Yoon prepared two brilliant breads that served equally well at sopping up residual broth and delivering two artisan butters. 

Next, Chef Aaron presented a roasted halibut fillet accompanied by blistered tomatoes, English peas and garlic scapes in a unique amontillado sherry sauce. Once again, master mixologist Julia impressed attendees with another cocktail that paired perfectly with this course. Her “Julia’s Chaîne Sherry Special”, crafted from Chaîne Chicago’s NV Delgado Muleta Amontiallado Muy Viejo Quo Vadis, Calvados, Marie Framboise, Crème de Noyeaux, Amara Orange Picon and Creole bitters, knocked it out of the park, a perfect companion to this delicious course.

GreenRiver’s regular menu offers a classic midwestern meat and potatoes course that is presented tableside before being carved in the kitchen and presented family-style.  Chef Aaron magnificently refined this concept for Chaîne Chicago. First, charred slabs of beef were paraded around the dining room, filling the space with mouth-watering smoky herb aromatics. The aged strip steaks were then carved in the kitchen, topped with a crispy black truffle and bone marrow feuille de brick and accompanied by truffle jus, massive grilled porcini mushrooms, asparagus and decadent butter-laden pomme purée all topped with copious black truffle bits. An impressive Bordeaux paired with the fourth course—1988 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan exhibited tobacco, smoke, spice and roasted meat flavors that complemented the final savory course.

To conclude, Chef Ji created a superb dessert. Cherry jubilee, long peppercorn panna cotta, Old Fashioned ice cream and caramel popcorn brought out the spicy fruit notes of a 1989 Sauternes from Château Suduiraut. Finally, coffee and tea were poured with a terrific trio of mignardises.

Throughout the evening members of the GreenRiver team graciously provided beverage and food commentary: Julia described her cocktails and Restaurant Manager extraordinaire Jessica McGlynn, who was instrumental in organizing the event, spoke about the wine pairings. Chef Aaron adeptly explained his inventive cuisine and Chef Ji provided insights into her pastry prowess.

As the evening concluded, Bailli Mon Roldan presented a Chaîne plaque to the GreenRiver team and thanked General Manager Will Sears, Assistant General Manager Dan Jones, Jessica McGlynn, the polished servers and other front-of-the-house personnel. He also acknowledged the personnel behind the food and beverage: Chefs Aaron Lirette, Seth Moliterno, Ji Hyun Yoon and Rick Ohlemacher and mixologists Julia Momose and Mary Lou Mountain. The combination of GreenRiver’s enlightened hospitality, imaginative gastronomy and cocktail creativity, together with Chaîne Chicago’s superlative wines, made the final event of our fiftieth anniversary season an unqualified success!


25 May 2016

Cher Confrères and Consœurs,



MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2016

Last September NYC restaurateur extraordinaire Danny Meyer opened GreenRiver, an upscale cocktail lounge and fine dining establishment in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood.  Despite its unusual location—the 18th floor of Northwestern Medicine’s Lavin Family Pavilion—GreenRiver has become one of the city’s most critically acclaimed hotspots.  Please join us at GreenRiver on Monday, June 20th for the conclusion to our outstanding 2015-2016 Season.

Executive Chef Aaron Lirette, a Chicago native, has promised a menu with exciting twists to his trademark seasonal upscale American fare.  Prior to joining the GreenRiver team, Chef Aaron opened Celeste, worked at MK and was chef de cuisine at Acadia where he helped the restaurant earn a Michelin star. Head Bartender Julia Momose, formerly of The Aviary, will be introducing us to highlights from her unique cocktail menu.  Excellent wines from the Chaîne cellar will also be poured.

GM Will Sears and his outstanding team of managers and servers will make sure that Chaîne Chicago will enjoy a classic GreenRiver experience, taking full advantage of the gorgeous sleek space with its floor-to-ceiling windows, stunning wrap-around outdoor terrace, and spectacular city views.

Space is limited so please sign up early for what is sure to be one of the highlights of our 50th anniversary season. Vive la Chaîne!

Gastronomically yours,


Mon Y. Roldan
Bailli de Chicago