“I can’t call GreenRiver the perfect restaurant, but boy, does it work for me,” purrs Phil Vettel on his way to giving Green River, the restaurant and cocktail joint high in a Northwestern Outpatient Care facility 3 stars. He describes the food and drink in loving terms, but the phrase that may win it the most business is this one: “In what constitutes good news for some and fair warning for others, over-45 patrons can walk into GreenRiver and not feel like party crashers.” He also points out that chef Aaron Lirette was the opening chef at Celeste, which, weirdly, seemed to be a classified secret at the time.

Meanwhile at Crain’s, Joanne Trestrail also gives a self-declared rare 4-star rating to GreenRiver. Yes, the location is odd, but “Step off the elevator and you’re in another world, loftier and entirely unmedical…  Serious mixology comes courtesy of head bartender Julia Momose (the Aviary), whose cocktail list includes concoctions inspired by historic figures from Chicago’s past… The dining room is on the quiet side and, at least for now, underpopulated at noon. With well-spaced tables that make it easy to conduct private conversation, the relaxed but refined environment is ideal for a special business lunch.”

And the end note contains a postscript to another story that nobody had thought to ask until now: “Danny Meyer recently announced Union Square’s full-service New York restaurants will transition to a no-tipping policy starting this month. The new system does not apply to GreenRiver yet.”


Cantina 1910 opens in Andersonville. Some Yelpers complain that’s it’s not Cesar’s Margaritas, basically. Mike Sula mocks them mercilessly (and Anthony Todd piles on in a more detailed analysis). That’s the conventional wisdom on the story here, Yelpers are stupid—but really read the comments on both pieces and you’ll see that some are stupid, and some are making perfectly legitimate complaints about early week growing pains… the kind reviewers like Mike Sula make, too.


Michael Nagrant devotes much of his Swift & Sons review to a somewhat uncommon dish, Beef Wellington, but it’s with a point about Swift not quite having its steakhouse act together yet: “When executive chef Chris Pandel carved the dish tableside, my date’s portion had all the foie gras and mine had none. Though the puff pastry was mostly golden and crispy on the outside, the interior was gluey and raw.” (I take this to mean that Pandel knew who he was.) Nagrant gives it 2-1/2 stars for now, but has hopes given its pedigree: “To be fair, I visited about a week after Swift & Sons opened. Pandel oversees a kitchen of 42 cooks. He’s not hand-coddling each dish that comes out of the kitchen. Getting a team this big on the same page takes time.” (Redeye)


Friday news dump: after a legendarily excoriating review for C Chicago (Jeff Ruby’s) that centered not only on the reviewer being treated badly but even worse, the fish being treated badly by the servers considering the sky-high prices, comes the news that the seafood relative of Chicago Cut Steakhouse is replacing opening chef Bill Montagne (Le Bernardin) with veteran, much-liked Italian chef Dean Zanella. “Customer counts weren’t always where a 300-seat restaurant needed them to be”—yeah, that’ll happen when word gets out that even reviewers get treated like hicks from out of town to be shuffled off to Siberia, while the big shots settle in for a feast. (Tribune)


Eataly runs a promotional pop-up restaurant, Il Tartufo, for white truffles, starting today—and our friend/unforgiving Italian food critic Kenny Z is wowed on Twitter, telling the world “People, run to this white truffle popup restaurant at eataly. I mean it. Get there.”


It was just a year ago that John Lenart sprung a listicle on us—but a good one, his list of interesting ten sommeliers in town, aka a guide to somms worth interacting with and what to expect from their lists. And it’s back with a bunch of new names (somms move around a lot!) in the 2015 edition, including several who do their work at shops, rather than restaurants. (Chicagoist)


The New York Times attacks Midwesterners’ favorite apple, the Honeycrisp, and addled by a salt-deprived diet of Chicago pizza, Chicagoist races to the fruit’s defense. Honestly, though, they really are too sweet—hit one of the farmer’s markets fruit stands and try rarer things like Northern Spy apples for more multidimensional flavor.


Mexican/South American food court Latinicity opened on the third floor of Block 37—potentially a tough location, but we’ll see. In the meantime the Trib has a slideshow preview that won’t require taking a bunch of escalators to check out.


Twitter went all abuzz with noise about the impending, maybe, closing of Bucktown’s Danny’s Tavern due to Bucktown becoming, like, hip or gentrified or something. Reader editor Jake Malooley tells a more nuanced version of the whole story.