After we read Setting the Table for book club, I had to check out Union Square Cafe to see if Danny Meyer was all talk, or if he practiced what he preached. We were running a few minutes late, so I called the restaurant to let them know. When we arrived, it wasn’t busy yet, so it wasn’t a big deal that we were late. But the hostess said, “thanks so much for calling and telling us you were going to be a bit late, we really appreciate it.” Nice.
Our waitress couldn’t have been better. She was friendly (but not overly so), she was close (but didn’t hover) and just made our meal an excellent experience.
Large murals covered the walls.
The way that Meyer talks about the restaurant in the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect about the layout and the decor, but this is quite charming….(and nothing like I imagined),
I knew I liked this place the minute I set eyes on the bread basket.
I love that there are multiple spread options.
Grapefruit soda ($6) was crisp and refreshing.
Heirloom tomato salad ($16) was delicious and I could have eaten this for a meal. The cheese was delicious and the tomatoes had a nice bite.
The restaurant leans towards fine dining, but it is approachable. It’s sophisticated and simple.
Gnocchi ($16 for a half portion) was over too quickly. The dumplings were light with just the right amount of sauce.
spaghettini with clams ($18 for a half portion) also a delicious dish. Flavorful with perfectly al dente pasta, that was light. It filled you up without feeling heavy.
Chicken ($29) was very tender but I think the corn pudding was the star of the dish. It gives you that warm comfort food feeling, again, without feeling stuffed.
The mousse ($9.50) was delicate and delicious.
The cookie and biscotti plate ($9.50) was just the right thing to go with a cup of coffee, a really nice way to end the meal. We really enjoyed our experience at Union Square Cafe. And it really was that, an experience. It was more than just the food, although that part was great, it was about good service and the feelings guests leave with, ultimately wooing them to com back. Needless to say, we can’t wait to go back, and look forward to trying Meyer’s other restaurants.
Union Square Cafe
21 East 16th Street, New York, NY
Tags: fine dining, pasta, restaurant