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The Things You Can Get Away With - Review by Stephen W | Union Restaurant

Union Restaurant


The Things You Can Get Away With 1/19/2007

In a particularly memorable episode of Penn & Teller's Bulls__t, the guys set up a fake upscale restaurant, serve small, hyped dishes made of laughably low-cost ingredients (Salisbury steak, for example) to their posturing, opulent clientèle. They then film their victims as they ooh and ahh over the flim-flam dishes for which they're happily forking over a fortune. I'm not saying that The Union is that fraudulent. By no means. What I'm saying is that the distance between the hype and the reality coordinate with the highwayman prices to EVOKE that episode. As Erin F. indicates, the Union once served a taste menu. As of a couple months ago, that was no longer the case. What it serves now is snobbisme for the credulous, undersized dishes of uneven quality at a uniformly exorbitant price. I sat across from my girlfriend attempting to suppress a mischievous grin as I watched the feigned appreciation that spread over the faces of this cheaterie's bamboozled patrons. I felt like Mencken must have felt has he reported on the Scopes trial. To the specifics: I had the Beef Tartare. It was an acceptable dish. But the only thing that distinguished it from the beef Tartar I could have made myself was the use of a quail egg instead of a chicken egg. And at 13 dollars, I felt violated. Next came the Lumachine Pasta. Returning to my notes, I see: "To reverse engineer, use Hamburger Helper and pound or so of salt." It was simply awful. Finally, the entrée: Wagyu Sirloin Steak. In an exchange that I cannot remember with a straight face, I explained to the waitress that I had not received any implement with which I could cut the sirlion into eatable portions (I had not received a chainsaw). This was, she rejoined, "by design" -- that the sirloin was "marbled". Honestly, the Union is OK, and the wine list is good, but the fare justifies neither the ballyhoo nor the price. more
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