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Tag: Union Square

Qi

Pretty upscale Thai near Union Square.

What We I Had

I stopped in to treat myself during a long day of holiday shopping and ordered off the lunch menu.
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I had the Spicy Thai Basil with chicken and steamed chicken & shrimp dumplings.

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Not bad at all. Nice chunks of identifiable shrimp in the dumplings and nice spice to the main dish. Lunch was light enough I didn’t feel too heavy, and had enough vegetables that it didn’t feel overly unhealthy.

I also had a glass of good pinot grigio.

Decor

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Pretty with lots of abacus (abacui? Abacusses?) and sleek furnishings.

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Service

Nice and unobtrusive.

Overall Impressions

Not bad. This looks to be a good date night place and it was certainly a nice lunch break from fighting holiday crowds.

Rating

3.75 out of 5 for solid food in a relaxing atmosphere.

Umami Burger

NYC outcrop of a popular California chain.

What We Had

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I had The Original – Parmesan crisp, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions & house ketchup – cooked medium-rare with no bun.

I also had an order of sweet potato fries with signature sweet salt (brown sugar salt).

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My DH had the Manly Burger – Beer-cheddar cheese, bacon lardons, smoked salt onion rings, house ketchup & mustard spread cooked medium-rare on a bun.

He also had thin fries (plain).

OMFG amazing. Definitely in our top 5 favorite burgers ever.. And that sweet salt … That sweet salt on the sweet potato fries with the diablo or jalapeño ranch sauce – I heard a heavenly chorus. The meat was great – the burger had a perfect hard sear while retaining lots of juice and perfect doneness – and the toppings were all placed in service to umami. Truly fantastic.

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Decor

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Built for mass traffic with durable slate floors, commercial seating and an open floor plan.

Service

We visited on a Saturday around lunch and there was a 10-15 minute wait presided over by an iPad equipped hostess who seemed to be on top of things.

Our server seemed to be operating in a general state of confusion, but still managed to deliver our meals quickly.

Overall Impressions

Zomfg, where have you been all my life? We need to go back soon and often.

Rating

5 out of 5 for a nearly perfect meal. It’s not cheap as burgers go, but it’s worth it – and has officially unseated shake shack as my DH’s favorite burger place burger.

Heartland Brewing Company

Large brewery & pub right off of Union Square.

What We Had

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My DH had the Heartland Big Bite Burger – angus beef with aged cheddar and applewood smoked bacon. Juicy and tasty burger, limp bacon and nice fries.

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I had the Smothered Steak – black angus steak covered with mushroom & onions and a side of sautéed spinach. Overcooked steak (ordered rare, got medium-well) but still juicy with nice Worcestershire seasoning and grill flavoring, good mushrooms & onions, and a metric ton (almost 2 cups) spinach. I was in spinach heaven.

We also had the house-brewed Summertime Apricot Ale and Not Tonight Honey Porter, both of which were nice.

Decor

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Black wood, exposed brick, lofty open spaces over the beautiful old bar and brew tanks in back.

Service

Decent.

Overall Impressions

Not a bad place to grab an unfussy lunch or drinks.

Rating

3.75 out of 5 for good for what it is pub food with a great selection of house brews – and plenty of room, to boot.

Pop Pub

Graphics heavy pub near Union Square.

What We Had

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I had the Superman – 8 oz. beef burger with bacon, fried pickles, and sautéed onions – pretty great. The fried pickle/sauce/shredded lettuce combo ended up tasting like a grown up Big Mac. Nice thick and crispy bacon. Burger itself was dry. Onions were good.

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My DH had the Original Pop Burgers – 3 mini beef burgers with pop classics, which were fairly ok but dry. Could be because of the massive grill fire we saw raging right after our order was placed.

Side of fries – decent pillowy fries with fried coating.

Decor

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Lots of wood (like log cabin levels) and graphic design elements.

Looks like a fun atmosphere with upbeat music, lots of TVs on mute, foosball and loungy chairs.

Good beer selection.

Service

Semi attentive waitstaff.

Overall Impressions

Meh. Sinking into a comfortable lounger was great, and my burger toppings were great, but the meat was just too dry.

3.5 out of. 5 – we’ve had better and worse.

Update: I am amending my rating down to an even 3.0 due to further input from the DH.

Strip House

Sexy burlesque-themed steak house around Union Square.

What We Had

Amuse of cauliflower soup with parsley oil. Really great. Not diet food but luscious and rich.

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New England sea scallops with edamame succotash, black truffle butter & corn broth – Stellar. Nice hard sear on the scallops with a delicate yet flavorful broth.

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Filet Mignon – Great steak. Good quality, cooked to perfection, and not messed with too much. It also came with A fabulous little roasted garlic head on the side.

Though it is sacrilege for both of us, the house steak sauce was really nice and we both had more than a single taste.

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Black Truffle Creamed Spinach – Holy crap amazing. I will dream about this. Perhaps the single best thing I’ve eaten since the foie at Modern. I need this in my life.

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Mac & Cheese – No complaints; good but not life changing.

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The largest slab of cheesecake I’ve had the pleasure to tangle with on quite awhile, which was fabulous as well.

And a surprise birthday hot brownie with vanilla ice cream – an unexpected treat that was really very good.

At the time, I wrote ‘fantastical’ to describe the desserts.

Decor

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Sexy reds and golds, with lots of leather, flocked velvet walls, dark wood, white tablecloth charm, celebs & tasteful nudie pics on the walls, and a swinging soundtrack.

Service

Impeccable service. White vest old school style steakhouse service, friendly manager making personal visits.

Overall Impressions

A gem. While we were slightly sad to see the dining room was more tables and banquette seating and less the high-backed VIP room booths of our imagination, this was a great place to spend a birthday dinner. Sexy but not trashy, and really great food.

Rating

5 out of 5 for top notch food and stellar service in a romantic but classy enough environment to take a date or celebrate a birthday with a long time love. Zero complaints.

Spoon

I found out about Spoon because I was a woman in need. I needed somewhere that had a great but not a bigillion dollars brunch, convenient to both Chelsea & the F train, and preferably somewhere that wouldn’t be too long a slog for either the visiting friends, or my worn out sad little legs. Enter Spoon. The online reviews raved about this place’s food but had very mixed reviews on the service. One of our party had actually heard of it before, so it was a go.

When hearing the name, my DH snorted: “Well, that’s not pretentious.” Although he was being facetious, it isn’t pretentious. The food was simple, but good. A great balance between breakfast and grease.

What We Had

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All three of us had the Eggs Espana (open faced baguette sandwich with gruyere, poached eggs, fresh grape tomato and vinaigrette pico and slab bacon with a side of field greens) on recommendation from our water pourer. He talked it (and Spoon’s house made bacon) up so much, the two of us that were very intrigued by the trout & grits were swayed.

This was a great dish, but our eggs were very inconsistent. Mine were perfect, but one of the other 2’s eggs were so over cooked they had to be sent back.

The coffee was great, and by all accounts, so was the virgin bloody mary.

Decor

No decor pic, I was too busy chatting. 🙂

It was country-ish, breakfasty and cheery. I remember really digging the wallpaper.

Service

Friendly but on the slow side. Not as dire as some of the online reviews would have you believe, but certainly not zippy.

Overall Impressions

Not a bad little brunch spot, if you happen to be in the area. Within walking distance of Washington Park, a Trader Joes, and 999999.99999 other points of interest.

Rating

3.75 for slower-than-necessary service and inconsistent egg cookery. Still a decent option for brunch if you’re in the area, just be forewarned.