When he opened Union Square Cafe in 1985, Danny Meyer changed the American restaurant landscape: his combination of upscale food and unpretentious but focused service sparked a revolution. This landmark spot still draws devotees with the crowd-pleasing menu, warm atmosphere, and, of course, the service. Wood paneling and white walls are hung with splashy modern paintings; in addition to the three dining areas, there's a long bar ideal for solo diners. The cuisine is American
with a thick Italian accent—hearty pastas, seafood, and meat, as well as an excellent roast chicken—and the lunchtime burger is a perennial favorite.
Dec 15, 2013
My spouse and I dined at the Union Square Cafe (USC) for lunch on a Sunday in early October 2013. We made a reservation 28 days prior using the Open Table reservation system, and the restaurant called the day before to reconfirm our date and time. Union Square Cafe is part of the Danny Meyer restaurant empire and has been open since the mid-1980s. USC is open for lunch and dinner daily. The restaurant space is large, occupying the street/ground
level of two adjacent buildings. Because the space is comprised of two different buildings, one of the dining rooms requires you to step down a few steps to reach it. There are many tables for large parties, which is sometimes difficult to find in the city. The restrooms are tiny, very small for a space this size with so many diners, but they use what space they are given effectively. One of the dining rooms has second-level balcony seating, accessed by a narrow, steep staircase. The front of the restaurant houses a large bar where patrons eat rather than just drink, and a few small tables in the front window area. We arrived at the restaurant with our luggage, which the hostess happily stowed for us. Service was great, and the food was classic, prepared with fresh ingredients and presented nicely. Their Sunday lunch/brunch menu featured not only breakfast items, but also lunch food, which pleased us. (We are not big egg/pancake eaters.) The restaurant sources some of its ingredients from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket (which is a must-see on Saturdays). We ordered the Carpaccio and the apple salad to start, and the squash tortellini and another pasta dish as entrees, followed by the banana tart for dessert. The restaurant serves an excellent bread basket to accompany your meal. A meal at Union Square Café is a solid choice – good food, good service, and a pleasant atmosphere.