An enduring, always relevant Manhattan establishment whose uniquely adored atmosphere can be attributed to a commitment to a casual brand of fine dining. Even years later, peak brunch and dinner hours necessitate reservations in order to experience the genial accommodations and flavorful creations for which Union Square Cafe is famed.
Like so many people, I have a corner of my heart reserved for Union Square Cafe. I also have a standing arrangement with friends for brunch every Sunday, because God forbid I don't make it in at least once every week.
But the magic of Danny Meyer's so highly acclaimed, cozy, barn-like classic is that a meal at Union Square Cafe is just as perfect for a special, celebratory event with family as it is for an ordinary Sunday morning with friends. Much of the credit can be given to Danny Meyer's superhuman staff, who manage to make every diner feel exactly like they want to feel throughout the entire experience.
For any meal of the day, the light and creamy Ricotta Gnocchi gratifies, with tomato-basil passatina and pecorino romano making it easily one of the best in the city and entirely worth the larger portion. At dinner time, the Anson Mills polenta with gorgonzola and walnuts should be ordered as a (heaping) side whose plentiful rich creaminess becomes impossible to resist. Much of the menu does change seasonally as well, lending a new excitement to a seasoned dining experience. Most recently, the Mushroom and Spinach Frittata with an irresistible taleggio fonduta cream sauce topped with shaved white truffles has won the title of my ideal brunch, elegantly showcasing top ingredients in a truly accessible, and never overpowering fashion.
With nearly 30 years of service behind it, there will of course be moments when the coffee isn't hot and when the appetizers come out a little sluggishly. But at the end of the day, the smell of the warm, woody space, coupled with exquisitely crafted dishes served with outstanding hospitality are all part of Union Square Cafe's tried and true recipe of ease, refinement, and home all in one.