STREETERVILLE — Marisol restaurant is now open inside the Museum of Contemporary Art, focusing on leafy greens and light aperitifs.
The new restaurant marks the Streeterville museum's latest effort to appeal to a wider and younger audience, museum director Madeleine Grynsztejn said Wednesday. Led by chef Jason Hammel of Logan Square's Lula Cafe, Marisol promises to better the "connection between artists and audiences," she said.
"The pendulum has swung from passive temple to active space," Grynsztejn said.
The restaurant, which is open to the public and not just museum-goers, is named after Marisol Escobar, a French/Venezuelan artist who ran in the same circles as Andy Warhol in the 1960s. Her piece "Six Women" was the first work in the museum's collection.
Located at 205 E. Pearson St. on the museum's ground floor, Marisol includes a bar and a dining area that seats 125. The whole restaurant features murals by renowned British painter Chris Ofili, a recipient of the prestigious Turner Prize.
Hammel studied Marisol's life to develop the menu, even using her salad dressing from a 1973 cookbook published by New York's Museum of Modern Art. He also mixed in plenty of "meticulously" sourced vegetables, meat, seafood and handmade pastas.
Main courses on the dinner menu range from crispy eggplant with sweet and sour pork ($12) to dry-aged strip steak with summer onions and black currant vinaigrette ($36).
The drink menu includes a variety of craft beers on tap and in bottles/cans, as well as wine and housemade cocktails.
But one offering that sticks out is vermouth. Hammel included seven different types of the fortified wine on the menu as he seeks a light, aperitif vibe.
"I was thinking about the pre-dinner experience, the way this neighborhood is at 6 p.m.," Hammel said Wednesday. "What amaro is to Billy Sunday we hope vermouth will be to Marisol."
The restaurant's 6 Women cocktail includes Ransom Dry Vermouth. [All photos by DNAinfo/David Matthews]
For now the restaurant will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The bar will stay open till 11 p.m. Saturday. Lunch, brunch and counter service hours will be announced soon.
Scroll down below for more looks at Marisol:
The #13 cocktail ($14) with Batavia Arrack, Falernum, Cocchi Americano, lime, Angostura bitters and mint.
Roasted half chicken with mustard, pate toast and sweet corn ($26).
Cucumbers with plum, yogurt and basil ($12).
Marisol Salad ($13) with butter lettuce, apple, dill, macadamia nut, pecorino, and "natural food salad dressing" from the Museum of Modern Art's 1973 Artists' Cookbook.
Burrata with melon.
The Marisol entrance off Pearson Street.
Marisol herself. [MCA Chicago]
The drink menu.
The dinner menu.