John Barleycorn sets an impressive Chef's Table

Our most recent Chef’s Table event took place at John Barleycorn – River North where a sold-out table of 25 guests were treated to an impressive array of craft cocktails and amazing food.  The first ‘star’ of the evening was talented mixologist, Jeremy Paul who specializes in hand-crafted, classic cocktails

Each of the cocktails is assembled with detailed, personal attention.  Jeremy will line up the ingredients on the bar and discuss both the history of the cocktail and the specifics of the preparation.  The evening’s line-up included:

  • Manhattan – Templeton Rye, Antica Formula red Vermouth, Angostura Bitters & Regan’s Bitters
  • Old Fashioned – Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Demerara syrup, Luxardo Maraschino Cherry, orange slice & Angostura Bitters
  • Sazerac – Bulleit Rye whiskey, Angostura & Peychaud’s Bitters, Kübler Absinthe & Demerara simple syrup
  • Moscow Mule – Absolut vodka, fresh squeezed lime juice, Gosling’s ginger beer
  • The Last Word – Aviation American Gin, Luxardo Maraschino, Liqueur, Green Chartreuse & fresh squeezed lime juice (NOTE: this is my personal favorite, but ask Jeremey to mix it with single-malt scotch and you will thank me afterwards.)
  • Hemingway Daiquiri – Bacardi superior Rum, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, fresh squeezed lime and grapefruit juices & Demerara simple syrup
  • Barleycorn Classic Martini – Grey Goose vodka, noilly prat Original  dry vermouth, shaken table side

Once guests had their first cocktail, the food starting coming out.  Guests took a tour of John Barleycorn’s extensive menu, sampling some of the signature dishes including:

  • Tuna Tartare (sushi grade yellow fin tuna, avocado, red bell pepper, capers, spinach, balsamic glaze, soy sauce): I am a huge fan of tuna tartare and absolutely loved this one.  The preparation includes slices of avocado and a nice drizzle of balsamic reduction.  The combination of the sweet/sour balsamic with the avocado and tuna definitely makes this one better.
  • Reuben Rolls (Fried wonton, hand cut corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, house made 1000 island dressing) It would be a hard vote to pick a favorite of the evening, but I think this one wins out for me.  It’s all of your favorite Reuben ingredients rolled into a wonton skin – a simple idea, but inventive and tremendously tasty.
  • Mini Hickory Burgers (BBQ sauce, applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, onion strings) This was a slider portion of one of John Barleycorn’s justifiably famous gourmet burgers. Again, a simple preparation but the quality of the ingredients elevates this to a much higher level. If you like burgers, you definitely need to try this one and/or any of their other gourmet burgers.
  • JCB Tavern Fries (Hand-cut fries, house-made cheese sauce, pork chorizo, pico de gallo) If you find yourself in River North later at night, craving some kind of filling comfort food to buffer the adult beverages you may have consumed, this is one of the best choices in that entire neighborhood. It’s somewhat akin to poutine, but for my money it’s better.
  • Berry & Brie Grilled Cheese (Texas Toast, brie & cheddar cheeses, seasonal berries. Served with a side of romaine apple salad) Wow! This one was served last because it’s really rather like a dessert course. The combination of brie and cheddar is a perfect marriage of sweet and sharp cheese.  Add to that the tart, seasonal berries which also have a hint of native sweetness and you get an awesome explosion of every good flavor. If you’re a fan of grilled cheese, don’t miss out on this one!

John Barleycorn is located at 149 West Kinzie.  You can get more information on their website, by following them on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Chef’s Table Events bring foodies together in an exclusive, intimate setting. Each restaurant we visit takes care to show off its best, and each experience is exquisite. Whether it’s barbecue and beer, tapas and sangria, or Italian and wine, each event is unique and is an ideal way to explore Chicago’s culinary scene without spending a fortune.






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