Union Square Cafe
New York City-Midtown Manhattan
May 11, 2018
Danny Meyer’s flagship spot, founded in 1985, has become something of a New York institution. One of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants with good reason, it has won five James Beard Awards in its time and continues to draw plaudits. Taking its inspiration (and many of its ingredients) from the nearby Green Market, the emphasis here is on fresh, simple cooking in a warm hospitable environment. The drinks list features a short range of classic cocktails, including The Last Word, that heady blend of gin, maraschino, green chartreuse, and lime, and a Bees’ Knees made with lavender honey. The beers include local brews like Brooklyn Greenmarket Wheat and Sixpoint Righteous Ale as well as a few interesting European options. The dinner menu includes house-made pastas and well-sourced meat and fish, including a perfectly cooked New York Strip and grilled Vermont lamb. Their fried calamari is as good as it gets. They stock a tempting array of farmstead cheeses; be sure to save room for the banana tart with macadamia brittle and honey-vanilla ice cream. Service is as efficient and capable as you’d expect of a venue of its reputation. It’s not quite the hip destination it once was and its popularity means it can get pretty crowded, but the consistency and quality of the cooking more than makes up for this and its easy to see why it remains a New York favourite.