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My Favorite Brunch In New York City: Union Square Cafe

Cheers to Brunch at the Bar at Union Square Cafe

Last Saturday I had  an exceptional brunch at the Union Square Cafe in New York City. It was so memorable, I’ve thought about it every day since.

It’s always fun to re-visit your old college town as an adult, and in my case that is NYC. The Union Square Cafe is just around the corner from the dorm I lived in my second year at NYU and I recall looking at it’s glowing lights longingly during my salad days. Last week my husband and I popped in for brunch. I know for sure we’ll be back again.

Cheers to Krug at Brunch

I’m a big fan of dining at the bar and since we didn’t have reservations, that’s what I did. My server (I believe her name was Christine) was fantastic– knowledgeable, upbeat, and good offering suggestions when asked a question. Anyone who thinks New Yorkers are rude hasn’t eating that the Union Square Cafe.  We had a lovely conversation with fellow diners at the bar as well. For a restaurant that’s constantly winning James Beard awards and named on Top 10 Brunch Spots in New York lists, the service is refreshingly devoid of attitude.

The first thing that caught my eye on the menu was a half-bottle of Krug for $64 which is less than it is to buy a bottle at a wine shop. I ordered a half bottle and had a feeling I’d be enjoying myself.

Tuna Crudo @UnionSquareCafe

Executive Chef & Partner Carmen Quagliata focuses on seasonal American cuisine with California and Italian influences, so there was more than enough to pick from on the  brunch menu.

I started with the seared yellowfin tuna crudo ($17). Prepared with late harvest olive oil, capers, celery and lemon. Yum! The Greenmarket Heirloom tomato salad made with herbed goat cheese ($16) was also delicious although a tad heavy on the olive oil for my taste.

Nettle Tagliarini with mushroom ragu and poached egg

The Summer Bean-Octopus salad with pesto vinaigrette was satisfying and delicious. The standout among standouts was the special pasta– a homemade Nettle Tagliarini with Mushroom ragu and and a poached egg ($24) was indulgent and paired nicely with the Krug. If you’re really going crazy you can get order it with the white truffle supplement for $45.

Strawberry-Nectarine Crisp with honey vanilla ice cream

I’m not usually the sort of person who orders dessert at brunch, but I felt compelled to check out the menu completely. The strawberry-nectarine crisp was as delicious as one might expect ($9.50).

The lemon infused Tito’s Vodka made for a delicious Martini

If Champagne’s not your thing the cocktail list is great too. They infuse Tito’s Vodka with lemon zest sangria-style, which is cool.

I loved the relax and approachable atmosphere at the Union Square Cafe

Union Square Cafe is open for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 am- 2:30 pm.

Union Square Cafe

21 East 16th Street (between Union Square West and 5th Avenue)

New York, NY 10003

(212) 243-4020