USC Is Back In The Game…

Reunited and it feels so good.

I had lost touch with one of my dear friends from high school.

Beyond being buds, we studied for hours on the phone for all our fact laden history tests.

Ay, the memories of Mr. Fiordelisi.

Actually, Facebook was the uniting force that brought us back together after decades.

We discovered we are neighbors so we recently rendezvous’d at our local subway stop and headed to a NYC classic restaurant.

Union Square Cafe (USC) closed about a year ago, after 30 years.

It recently reopened and is located a few blocks north of its’ original home with additional private dining space and a cocktail lounge.

Union Square Cafe was one of New York City’s most iconic restaurants.

For a quarter of a century, it was the benchmark of all that is great about both dining in NYC and New American cuisine.

The new restaurant is very attractive, but no longer groundbreaking.

We were seated upstairs with a sweeping view of middle-aged hairlines.

Our server, Taylor, was fabulous and his recommendations resonated.

Taylor’s dedication to each dish on the menu was so enthusiastic that I recommend that Danny Meyer should adopt him…this is someone you always want in the Union Square Hospitality family.

As in our youth, we shared everything.


We kicked things off with Candele, a unique pasta combination of carrots, Fresno chilies, scallions, Greek yogurt and crispy pancetta ($25).

Since were were sharing, Taylor suggested we order the larger serving for an additional $10.

The dish was delicious, but unless there is truffle, lobster or foie gras, no pasta should cost $35 especially at lunch.

Butter Roasted Monkfish

Next, we indulged in the Butter Roasted Monkfish served in a mushroom broth with turnips and Napa cabbage. The kitchen split the dish and is was delicate and flavorful.

The menu changes daily. Six pastas were offered ($17-$65), along with oysters ($4 each), a Daily Soup ($14), a Roasted Chicken Salad ($24), USC Burger ($25), Yellowfin Tuna Burger ($29), Portabello Mushroom Melt ($22), Rainbow Trout ($26) and Lamb Chops ($38).

Nancee, with prompting from Taylor, selected the unexciting USC Banana Tart sprinkled with macadamia nuts and accompanied by honey-vanilla ice cream ($13).

Like an old friend, Union Square Cafe is a comfortable fit.

At the price point, I would not rush to score at USC.

There are edgier more exciting restaurants in the same price bracket.

Spending time with my high school buddy was the highlight of the afternoon.

USC Dining Room

Union Square Cafe 101 East 19th Street New York City. Open  Monday-Thursday 12–10pm, Friday12–11pm, Saturday 11am–11pm and Sunday11am–10pm. Reservations on Resy.



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