Last night I ventured out to a restaurant that has been intriguing to me for a while. I had heard good things about it, but had also seen the menu and worried about how it might reaction with my frugal side.
Union Bar and Grille is your typical South End restaurant, with a posh leather interior and young professional crowd. It's menu is set up traditionally; appetizers, pastas, entrées and sides, nothing really special or out of the ordinary. This can be good when what you just want a nice meal, straight forward and reassuring. Of course, they have a few items on the rare side, such as their spicy tuna tartare appetizer, which I wouldn't usually get, but the waiter recommended. It was very fresh tasting...but very small and I don't appreciate big plates with a speck of pretty food in the middle.
The great thing about Union's pasta selection, is that they still honor half-size portions and prices. My friend and I took advantage of this and selected their sweet corn risotto and bucatini carbonara. They were both delicious, and decently sized.
Funnily enough, I wasn't inclined towards any of their entrées, they were all the basic meat and starch dish, and whilst I am sure the quality of the food would have been delicious, the prices were definately not to my taste. (most entrées were at the 25 dollar mark)
My favorite part of the meal surprisingly enough, was the corn bread we ordered as a side dish. It comes in a cast iron pan and was just crispy enough on the outside, warm and crumbly on the inside. It paired with all of our dishes well and I made sure to soak up all excess sauce from my plate! Too bad the chorizo stuffing that supposedly went with it did not show up...
The dessert menu was also typical, nothing special, we opted for their dark chocolate bread pudding, which was mediocre. It was a bit drab, with not many hints at the dark chocolate and the bread part was a bit too congealed for my liking. It was accompanied by the world's most modest scoop of almond ice cream (which they forgot...maybe they misplaced it in the kitchen because it was so small...). It was very strange, some would like it, but it had the texture and taste of crushed cold almonds...I like my ice cream to be...well creamy.
All in all, it was a good meal. Now that I know how to maneuvre around the menu, I would go back and have another go at their half portion pastas, because they indeed were delicous, and paired with the cornbread you manage a satisfying meal in itself!
I would also like to try their flatbreads and their burger, which I didn't know existed until the very end of the meal when they brought the dessert menu with the bar menu attached...I was a bit miffed at the missed opportunity.
I deem it a place I would grant a second try, a place with good intentions, but a few thorns in need of being avoided.