VU Rooftop Bar, located 22 stories above McCormick Place at 133 East Cermak, officially opens its doors to the public Thursday, October 18, unveiling dinner and brunch menu offerings, along with a full cocktail program. The ingredient-driven menus are curated by Executive Chef Nolan Narut, formerly of Ella Elli and Stefani Prime, with a locally sourced beverage program developed by Advanced Sommelier John Williams, formerly General Manager of Mercat a la Planxa. This new urban space touts over 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor activation areas, including a karaoke room, boardroom, club bar, and solarium bar, all intended for al fresco and indoor seating, dining, and lounging throughout the year.
The dinner menu of shareable plates includes Tempura Shishito Peppers with black lava salt and kimchee emulsion, VU Vegetable Board with a selection of fresh, grilled roasted and preserved vegetables, Hamachi Crudo served alongside a lemon jam and serrano chiles, Beet Cured Salmon with crème fraiche, chopped egg and lavosh, Poached Scallops with orange, jalapeno, and pepita vinaigrette, Pork Belly Bao drizzled with a honey chili glaze, charred corn and cilantro, Roasted Mushroom Tostadas with salsa verde, black beans and pico de gallo, Moroccan Leg of Lambcomplete with a green curried yogurt, hummus, and naan, Panko Fried Oysters with marinated fennel and preserved lemon, Chorizo and Shrimp Toast with scallion, sesame, and sweet chile sauce, Steak Tartare with charred carrot, ras el hanout, and egg yolk, VU Cheeseburger with kimchee bacon confit and a bao bun, “Chicago Style” Longonisa with tomatillo, celery, green relish, and peppers, Wood Fired Flatbread with bacon, gruyere and fromage blanc, and Peking Duck Tacos with black beans, salsa verde, and pico de gallo.
Advanced Sommelier John Williams created a locally sourced cocktail list that includes selections such as Vodka #2, mixed with Door Country Cherry, cointreau, egg white and shiso, Blended #1, complete with bourbon, silver tequila, Danish cherry nut liqueur, and blended bitters, Mezcal #1, with a chile liqueur, cognac, spiced pear liqueur, fino sherry, orgeat, citrus, and cinnamon, Gin #3, served with alpine liqueur, vermouth bianco, citrus, rosemary, and cucumber, Tequila #1, with Reposado, rooibos, cassis, citrus, and bitters, Rum #1, with Apricot liqueur, velvet falernum, pineapple, orgeat, and citrus, Amaro #2, with citrus, egg, and Malbec, and Cognac #2, served with a floral berry liqueur, blackberries, and thyme. Guests are also welcome to warm up with cold weather cocktails, which include either a Cider #1, with brandy, honey, ginger, berries, and spices, or a Port #2, with rum, citrus, and spices.
The brunch menu, available on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., features a variety of sweet and savory options. Those looking for something sweet can opt for either a Grand Marnier French Toast with toasted almonds, orange, and white chocolate, a Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Belgian Waffle served with a sweet chile sauce, scallions, topped with a maple whipped butter, or a Sopapillas with cinnamon sugar, and a guajillo raspberry salsa. For something a little more flavorful, guests can indulge in Lobster Chilaquiles, served with salsa verde, roasted corn, Chihuahua cheese, and sunny side eggs, Pork Belly Hash, complete with crispy vermicelli cakes, poached eggs, hollandaise, scallions and sesame, and a VU Breakfast Sandwich, stacked high with braised short rib, fried egg, Texas toast, shallot jam, and provolone. For a lighter selection, snack on a Wood Fired Egg & Bacon Flatbread, with gruyere, fromage blanc, and Spanish onion, or a Power Bowl, nutrient rich with farro, quinoa, wheat berries, spinach, avocado, pepitas, and poached eggs.
The hours of operation for VU are Sunday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. and Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.