On The Menu

Union Bar and Grille (JP Review)


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Last night a friend was in from out of town and we grabbed some dinner. I've never gone to Union before, and seeing as it's a couple of blocks away, we decided to give it a try.

I always thought Union was a long and narrow restaurant, but once we entered I soon realized I was wrong. It's a decent size place. The bar area was mostly full, which is pretty good for a lazy Monday night. The dining area had a few open booths and we were promptly seated even though we didn't have any reservations. (Not that I thought we would have troubles, but you just never know, ie, BBC.)

Union apparently is extending restaurant week so we were all going to go with that menu. There was also a special tonight, a steak tare tare appetizer that sounded really good. My buddy Joey and I looked at each other, trying to decide if we would get it or not. I decided no after I was told I couldn't switch it out with any of the appetizers in the restaurant week menu, but he went with it anyway.

My order was:

Deviled Eggs with Spiced Toasted Pecans, Spinach and Arugula Salad
Grilled Wild Striped Bass Sweet Corn Succotash and Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
Black Bottom Cupcake Sundae Hot Fudge, Fresh Whipped Cream, Walnuts

Luckily everyone else ordered differently so we were all able to snack on the other items of restaurant week.

My deviled eggs came out and I was pleasantly surprised. Deviled eggs aren't normally something I see on a restaurant menu...usually it's for picnics or catered affairs. It's also an item that I feel should probably taste the same no matter who is making it, and these were no exception. The salad was also nice, with the pecans adding a nice sweet touch. I tried some of Joey's tare tare and it was pretty good, but not mind-blowing in any way. Abby's soup wasn't very good at all. It was a watermelon gazpacho soup and I don't think I could have more than 1 spoonful.

We then waited quite a bit for our main course. And the appetizers really made us more hungry. It's one of the few times I've had an appetizer and completely finished the plate and was immediately wanting the entree. I guess it was an epidemic because Nabeel, Joey and Abby all felt the same way. Maybe we were just extremely hungry that night...who knows. My striped bass came out and it looked like it was perfectly cooked: a nice brown, crispy sear on the skin and flaky to the touch. The bed of veggies it was lying on top of were very good, especially the corn. (This must be a good season for corn, because any corn I've had has been really freaking good.) The bass itself was, while perfectly cooked, a little under seasoned. The crispy skin had decent flavor, but the flesh was slightly bland. There sauce/vinaigrette provided some nice flavor, but I'd rather have the fish speak more for itself. Abby and Nabeel both got the cornflake crusted chicken and that too was slightly bland. Maybe the chefs ran out of salt...

Again, we waited a long time for our desserts. Right now we were all tired from a long day of work (or in my case still recovering from Vegas) and wanted our dessert immediately. Finally it came...and I'd give it a meh. It wasn't bad, nor was it great. Just a nice simple cupcake sundae. I ate it all and it pleased my sweet tooth, but it wasn't anything memorable. Joey's pineapple upside down cake had a very strong rum sauce, that was basically straight rum.

Overall not a bad place, but nothing special either. Looking at the prices (which weren't too bad) Union seemed like the classic place to try restaurant week. You get a little of everything, and it seems to be from a selection not far removed from their regular menu. I give it a 3 out of 5.

***Pics will come soon. We forgot our camera, so Nabeel used his blackberry to take pics and will email it to me when he has a chance.

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