George Trois Group Reopens With Two Re-Imagined Concepts in WinnetkaXiao Faria daCunhaon June 7, 2022 at 1:51 pm

George Trois Group, the dual-concept dining destination from distinguished Chef Michael Lachowicz, has re-opened at 64 Green Bay Road with a drastically updated look, feel, and menu.

For 18 years – the first 10 of which were profoundly successful under the eponym of Restaurant Michael – Lachowicz’s outpost has remained a preeminent destination for French cuisine in Chicagoland and a staple of the North Shore dining scene. The acclaimed fine-dining mecca George Trois and the under-the-radar, much more relaxed Aboyer, have been known for Lachowicz’s classical and laser-focused knowledge of French cuisine, combined with his playful and daring interpretations. The triumph of making it through a pandemic that changed the industry forever, and the ever-shifting culinary landscape around him inspired Lachowicz to make big changes that aim to bring both his and his patrons’ full circle, and back to the real reason he started cooking in the first place.

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“My early days of being mentored in French cuisine are the bedrock of my inspiration and passion for food,” says Lachowicz. “The last two years were so focused on simply keeping the restaurants alive, and my team intact, that now seemed like the perfect time to reconnect with my passion in a purer way than ever before. I decided it was time to bring the ‘smile’ back to my cooking and my guests, many of whom are returning for the first time since the pandemic.”

The Design

Lachowicz enlisted the help of designer Leah Oros to start the journey back to his roots by reinventing the interior of both George Trois and Aboyer. The comprehensive interior refresh is meant to complement the restaurant’s classic cuisine in a way that brings patrons as close to the French dining experience as possible.

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“Dining and design are two of the oldest institutions in France and because of this, they are inextricably intertwined,” explains Oros. “The idea for Aboyer was not simply décor, but rather designing an experience that emulates the authenticity of Michael’s cuisine, and the everyday luxury attitude that the French take towards dining. The new George Trois is different, it’s sharp and calculated and while it informs Aboyer, it stands more as the adult sister with a sharp wit to match Michael’s sharp knife. It’s more serious and exacting while being very easy on the eyes.”

At George Trois, new floor-to-ceiling window and door treatments, new lighting and acoustics, and a newly designed fireplace lay the groundwork for the “restraint meets excess” décor that adorns the intimate 16-seat dining room. Highlights include inlays of European wallcovering throughout the entire restaurant accenting austere white walls, soft sage velvet chairs, tables draped to the floor in white linen, satin-band napkins, and elevated oak Versailles panel flooring named for the ornate style used throughout the famed palace.

Aboyer, formerly quite contemporary while sporting an interior of edgy artwork and bright colors, has transformed to exude the interior of a timeless French brasserie. Materials often found in French homes such as deep leathers and heavy linen are found throughout the restaurant. Notes of mid-century French and art deco combine to cement the vibe with a mirrored wall installation, a gut rehab to build a custom brass-wrapped, 8-seat bar with accompanying brass accents and brass table lamps, floor-to-ceiling window treatments and back-lighting, and more.

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Thomas Gavin was commissioned to create a gallery of photographs for Aboyer. Shot in Paris and the Palace of Versailles over a 6-day period in April, the work encourages guests to consider the overwhelming attention to detail of French culture. “I wanted to present both the intense and intimate moments of Paris and Versailles, but to stray away from the obvious.” says Gavin. He continues that, “…as a whole, the work represents many, many hours of careful consideration.” Crisp linens topped with butcher paper, and a new entrance including doors and awnings complete the transformation of the 72-seat dining room. The re-designed 44-seat patio is also unveiled, complete with a heated and covered pergola, decorated in a French garden motif.

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The exterior of the building at 64 Green Bay Road was also given a transformative touch to line up with the changes made to the interior, with the long-time black façade now painted an ethereal white.

The Menus

Changed just as drastically as the interior of the restaurants are Lachowicz’s two, very distinct and dynamic menus.

At George Trois, Lachowicz continues to utilize his menu as a seasonal workshop for his creativity and culinary expertise, providing a meticulously curated 10-course tasting menu. The cuisine reveals Lachowicz’s passion for precise French method and technique and allows for guests to have a time-honored experience scarcely available outside of France. “This menu in all of its complexity, offers a surprising cadence of flavors and textures that keep you engaged and present, excited and enticed but never overwhelmed.” he says. Offerings on his new tasting menu include austere and refined preparations such as:

Foie Gras & Foie Gras with English Peas, Soupe de Foie et Truffe
Saddle of Rabbit with Morel Souffle and Sauce Moutarde
Roast Squab, White Asparagus, and Béarnaise au Beurre noisette, Pave Dauphinoise
Lychee & Papaya Frappe with Blueberries and Yuzu Pearls

All of Aboyer’s dishes gain their fundamental identity from their sauces. “Sauce work is a dying art, and I’m not about to let it die with me,” says Lachowicz. This menu celebrates a style of cuisine that can only be described as retro French cooking at its finest. From timeless bistro dishes to a new section of the menu dedicated to dishes that relive the nostalgia of Lachowicz’s previously lauded Restaurant Michael, Aboyer’s menu is the centerpiece of this concept’s in-depth overhaul. Skillfully and soulfully created preparations include:

House-smoked Salmon Board with Chive Omelet, Creme Fraiche Mousse, Potato-Caper Gateau, and Brioche
Classic Escargot Bourguignon en Croute
Stuffed Breast of Hen with Duck Fat Potatoes, Roasted Baby Carrots, and Morel Mushroom Sauce(one of several dishes nodding to Restaurant Michael classics)
Duo of Lamb: Roasted Loin of Australian Lamb, Rosemary-scented Lamb Shank & Potato Raviolo, Grilled Ramps, Lamb Jus with Black Garlic Butter

A $50,000 investment in the group’s already impressive wine cellar and new list of incredible cocktails that blend classic and progressive presentations seamlessly, round out the dining experience and contribute to the transformation.

Officially reopened for business, the George Trois Group is proud to unveil these two newly re-imagined concepts that uphold the integrity and reverence of French cuisine in a multitude of ways.

Featured Image Credit: George Trois Group/Aboyer

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