Union Square Cafe

Danny Meyer’s first NYC restaurant that made him a super star in the dining scene is classic in the very best way.

You know how Gramercy Tavern is not actually a Tavern? Well Union Square Cafe is very much like a cafe. I was taken aback by the comfortable worn down decor that didn’t involve any crazy wooden sculpture walls, fake plants, or bubble lights. The pictures on the wall bordered on folk art. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating, but everything did have a very old family cafe feel.

For a moment, I was worried that I was being duped. How could a place that doesn’t have a shiny veneer command such expensive entrees?

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The bread dippings weren’t anything special but felt home made. the pine nuts and garlic were coarsely chopped instead of pureed. The olives still had bits of marinade stuck to them.

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Oysters – we just had them because it was Sunday.

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Corn soup 9/10: I’m biased toward corn soup. but this one was particularly good. It had an unexpectedly sweet finish, and the richness of the soup was nicely balanced by the freshness of the corn.

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Fried green tomatoes with pork belly and lobster 10/10: The most decadent fried green tomatoes ever. I was really suspicious of this combination of ingredients, but by the end there was not a drop of sauce left.

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Steak with ramp and truffle & bone marrow mashed potatoes 9.5/10: Tiny deduction for not using the best quality steak ever… but it was perfectly cooked. So simple and elegant. The truffled mash potatoes were addictive, the richness of the bone marrow somehow made the potatoes fuller but not heavier.

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Lamb braciole with turnips 9/10: Extremely tender and flavorful. I wanted to eat slower and slower to savor every bite. the thickness of the lamb was perfect. The fat was rendered right into the meat and everything melted in a umami saucy goodness.

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I wish I had saved more room for dessert, but I guess this just means we’ll have to come back. The waitress overheard that my birthday was coming up, and brought me a box with cookies, blondies, and biscotti.

Such a lovely, homey, perfect dinner. Everyone should go before they close at the end of 2015!!

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