Esmé, the Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, unveiled its final menu installment for 2023. Drawing inspiration from the captivating artwork of local talent Raspy Rivera, this exhibit holds special significance for Esmé, as Raspy is among the first artists to collaborate with the husband-wife duo back when Esmé opened in 2021. Set to launch on Friday, December 8, the new exhibit invites diners to embrace their authenticity, celebrating the beauty of individuality.

“Raspy has become one of Esmé’s most prominent supporters and we’re excited to be working together with her again,” says Executive Chef Jenner Tomaska.  “We first discovered Raspy when we were building the bones of Esmé and fell in love with her work. We immediately felt connected to her unique style and collaborated on a custom wallpaper for Bar Esmé. We are looking forward to welcoming her back into the space and collaborating on this special menu.”

Chicago native, Amanda Rivera-Redic is a Puerto Rican painter who creates signature faces for different spaces. Inspired by the human race, her unique interpretation of faces is similar to fingerprints in that no two are identical. Through her work, she encourages us to celebrate our individuality and inspires us to find strength in our true colors. Raspy Rivera’s hope is that those viewing her work are able to identify themselves or someone they love in her imperfect faces and honor the beauty of their individuality. 

Raspy has also tapped Frame Chicago and Takara Designs for this collaboration. Frame Chicago, the family-owned framing business in Lincoln Park, will be showcasing their frames through a revolving gallery wall of Raspy’s work, in addition to creating a custom frame plate for guests to enjoy their canapés on at the start of their dining experience. Takara Designs brought Raspy’s vision of taking her art from 2D to 3D through laser cutting face designs to create an interactive plate for the first course. Guests will be able to assemble their own colorful face through ‘puzzle pieces’ before the final aspect of their dish is brought out. In the front of the restaurant, a hanging mobile will be on display featuring smaller versions of the face plate created. 

Diners can experience Chef Jenner Tomaska’s culinary artistry as he highlights the ever-changing seasons. Beloved classics from Esmé, such as the “Mother Of Pearl” featuring white sweet potato ice cream topped with Osetra caviar, make a delightful comeback. Additionally, indulge in novel creations like “Flat Iron Steak” where braised Iberico pork belly takes center stage, seared tableside, and savor Chef Jenner’s unique twist on a Lobster Pot Pie, brushed with a delectable combination of miso and maple syrup.

A selection of beverage pairings will also be available to enhance the experience. Guests can also choose from three different beverage pairings: Exploratory, Classic, and Non-Alcoholic. Tickets are now available on Tock for reservations starting Friday, December 8th for $235 per person on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and $265 per person Friday through Sunday. 

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