Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Urban Union

Urban Union is yet another new restaurant to populate an invigorated Taylor street (and not a typical Italian spot at that). I was intrigued with a menu that focused on sea food, raw bar and other "game" animals. They also have three housemade pasta options (should be more!) and small "field" and sides sections. One of the highlights in the space, a small and narrow spot with most of the tables in the back, past the front room bar and the reserve-able communal chefs table. There is a lot of exposed brick, chalk boards and a great illuminated poster in the back room. Our only complaint was the noise level, which was surprisingly high even at 10pm and not a full room. We also sat under the air vents and become quite chilled but our server was very kind and helped turn the air off.

I really like the concept of a heavy focus on seafood (half the menu). We didn't get to try any of the raw bar and would be very interested to sample one of the platters. The other half of the menu are small shareable plates with items from the "pasture" section that include bone marrow, flank steak braised rabbit and lamb riblets. Our meal started with celery root soup and a special of roast atlantic swordfish. We added two of the three pasta choices (tagliatell with asparagus, Wild Mushrooms, Pancetta, Pea Shoots, and Reggiano Parmesan; and braised pork cheek ravioli with Cavolo Nero, Zamorano Cheese, Pan Sauce and Thyme) and an order of the grilled marinated flank steak.

On balance we really liked the food. The tagliatell was fantastic and larger than I expected and I preferred it to the pork ravioli (though erica liked the ravioli a lot). I also thought the flank steak was very tasty and a generous portion for $12. The soup and swordfish were nice and well thought out but didn't connect with me. We tried a trio of ice cream that was surprisingly great, though it should not be considering Pastry Chef Mitsu Nozaki is already very popular. Another bonus was the wine list and the multiple wines on tap (and priced very attractively at $10 for 8oz and up). 

We liked Urban Union and can see it as a successful addition to Taylor street as well a fun neighborhood spot. I think the small plate concept is well played out and I could see Urban Union benefiting from increasing the plate size and increasing the focus on the good food coming out. I really like the focus on seafood with land options available with a nice selection of desserts and wine to top it off. 

Urban Union on Urbanspoon

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