Sweet of the Week: Coconut Cheesecake at GreenRiver

When it gets chilly in Chicago, we do what we can to distract us from the fact that an ominous winter is coming. This often entails drowning our seasonal affective disorders in tropical cocktails and beachy eats. But there's a new tropical dish on the map this year, one that's sure to help us surf smoothly right through the imminent cold. I'm talking about the coconut cheesecake at GreenRiver. This restaurant, perched on the 18th floor of a Northwestern Memorial Hospital building in Streeterville is full of surprises, from the veritable storybook of cocktails to the entrancing locale, right down to the final bites of the evening. It's a vigorous and refreshing way to cap off an impressive meal at this ambitious restaurant from New York City's Union Square Events and Best Bar in the World. 

Coconut cheesecake at GreenRiver

This cheesecake is as tasty as it is lustrous. It's so bright and cheery, it's basically the dessert equivalent of those mood-boosting lights used to prevent seasonal depression in the Pacific Northwest during the dreary season (read: all year round). It all starts with a silky base of coconut cheesecake, bursting with heady, toasty notes of coconut, which serves to subdue the innate richness of the cream cheese confection. A squiggly drizzle of coconut rum caramel is at once fun and enriching. Drag a bite of cheesecake through the sauce to really make it sing and up the ante on the vacation-y comfort factor. There's also a crackly coconut tuile for textural contrast, while a dollop of lime sorbet cools things off and mellows the decadence. Altogether, it's a dessert that is thoroughly transportive and vivifying, sure to distract diners from the fact that it's not in fact a beachy paradise outside at all times. 

- Matt Kirouac