Sunday, September 10, 2006

Nuts about Union Square Cafe

DD and I hadn't made any plans for my birthday lunch and having always been a fan of Union Square Cafe I thought we should try and get a table for a light lunch, as we were still full from last night. Though when we sat down all thoughts of 'a little salad' seemed to fly out of the window.

Though we did opt to share both the starter and the dessert but also had to squeeze in a few nuts!
I know that Nigella Lawson is a huge fan of the Union Square Café’s nuts that they serve at the bar between lunch and dinner and I figured if we lingered long enough over our meal we could try them out.

But first we shared a portion of Frascatelli Genovese – Handmade Tiny Semolina Dumplings with Green Beans, Potatoes and Pesto Cream. These were exquisite, so tasty and just perfectly fresh.

Union Square Café is famous for getting the freshest, most luscious ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket, which is the popular farmers’ market, held in the nearby Union Square. And the chefs Danny Mayer and Michael Romano attribute some of the daily specials to a stroll amongst the stalls there. We did go for the salad and both had the Grilled beef Sirloin and Rocket Arugula Salad with Mushroom Vinaigrette and Parmigiano Reggiano. Again, an inspired choice, the salad was dressed really well and the beef was really succulent. I was able to satisfy my meat craving from last night! And in the name of investigation I had to order the exceedingly fine Union Square Café’s Mashed Potatoes with Frizzled Leeks. DD declared that he hadn’t eaten mash for many years and when Y cooks sausages and mash he has sausages and salad instead. I am speechless! However, he declared the USC mash to be very fine indeed.

We round this off with a shared portion of Honey and Vanilla Ice cream, Peach Sorbet and Raspberry Sorbet, which is really refreshing. (Note DD’s Tiffany ring in the picture!)

The nuts weren’t ready but we retired to the bar and watched all the staff prepare for the dinner sitting. They put all the olives into little white bowls and sort out all the other bits for the tables. They first have their own meals from big stainless steel tureens and chat about the day so far. When the fabulous nuts we brought out of the oven, the area fills with a spicy, herby aroma. The peanuts, cashews, brazils, hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds are tossed with melted butter combined with rosemary, cayenne pepper, brown sugar and salt. They are very good indeed even if you think you have no room to ever eat again!

As we lingered at the bar we thought it would be rude not to have a fabulous fizzy pink drink to toast both KK and me on our birthdays and when I realised they had Chambord, well the decision was easy. We had Kir Imperials – which is the delicious black raspberry liquor Chambord served in the ‘orb’ bottle with Champagne. Cheers!

The staff here were so fantastic as well, they were really friendly and when I was trying to take a photo of our Kir Imperials they offered to hold up a napkin so the beautiful pink colour could be seen.

A fabulous meal with truly fabulous company and a fabulous birthday – three forks for Union Square Café – maybe Michelin doesn’t think they deserve a star (their sister restaurant Gramercy Tavern has one) but I think they do. And they do fabulous nuts as well – what more could you want!

Finally, I also HAD to pick up their latest cookbook to add to the burgeoning collection. I am seriously nuts about USC


DD said...

What can I say? A totally fab day!

Oh, the nuts! Yummo...!

USC with J is by far one of my fave moments in NYC - another salad?

What the...?


DD said...

My gorgeous husband was just scrolling and noted the Tiff ring!

Ever most excited!

Love, DD & Y xx