- Alex Wolfman Jan 8, 1998 10:52 AM
Has anyone been to Union Pacific, and if so, what did you think?
It has been getting rave reviews. Gael Greene, under the heading "What are Chefs talking about", gave a wonderfully written review of this restaurant.
I have reservations for February and was wondering if anyone out there has had some memorable dishes that they would recommend. Thanks.
We had dinner at Union Pacific on Jan 24th and it was terrific!!.
Not cheap -- but not too bad for NYC.
Try, especially, the sweetbread nugget appetizer and/or the octopus & shrimp appetizer. The lacquered squab entree was also particularly good. All told, definitely "merite un detour."
We had an terrible experience at Union Pacific. I
ordered the halibut and tried it. The topping tasted
like meat. When I asked the waiter he indicated that
it was topped with a bacon and pork mix. This was not
mentioned on the menu. We do not eat pork so I was
We asked to speak with the person in charge and he was
nasty. He said the chef often uses pork in many of the
dishes. They have been serving it this way for a long
time and never had a complaint which I find very hard
to believe. People often order fish for health or
religious reasons. He said that he would tell the chef
about what happened and would give us the owner's
address if we were unhappy. He actually seemed annoyed
that we were saying anything.
They did give us two complimentary dessert samplers and
The thing that really bothered us was the attitude.
They did not care if we were upset. The place was
filled and they knew that there were plenty of others
willing to spend $250 a couple. There are so many
better places that actually care about their customers.
Don't wasted your time here.
You said you were livid when you found out about the
pork on the halibut. Could it be that the person was
reacting to your livid state? Still, a nasty
response is not the way to treat a customer.
I empathize with you about being served something you
do not wish to eat. Pork is now served in many
places, so maybe it would be wise for you to ask if it
is in any dish you order (but not indicated on the
menu). If restaurants were to list all the
ingredients in a dish, the menu would be unwieldly.
If they did not care, you would not have been given
the comp desserts and dessert wine.
re: Gary Cheong
I have to say, I find it fairly incredible that in *New York City* of all places a restaurant would be so cavalier about the unannounced presence of pork in a fish dish. Avoidance of pork is not some obscure fetish, for heaven's sake. I deplore the attitude and will avoid the restaurant.
re: steve d.
But that's what he DOES, for crying out loud. The entire UP experience is based on surprise, on finding a rogue fava bean or rabbit kidney where you'd least expect it--including dessert. And the chef is famous for saucing meat with fish and vice versa. If meat scares you, Zen Palate is right down the street.
re: steve d.
it would really be a shame if you (and anyone
else for that matter) didn't go to UP because of one
person's bad experience there, although i can totally
first of all, let me just say that i've been to UP at
least ten or so times (though only once in the last few
months) and i could almost swear that the halibut dish
is called "halibut with ginger and pork crackling"
which has been a mainstay on the menu for at least a
year so i find her assertion a bit perplexing. of
course by no means am i calling her a liar because she
was there but that's just my recollection.
the other thing is, i think UP is a great restaurant
from atmosphere to food to service and definitely among
my favorites and also mentioned favorably quite often
right here on chowhound (as i'm sure you're aware from
being a regular here).
that being said, it can be really frustrating to get
bad attitude especially when you already feel slighted
but i think it may have just been a misunderstanding
(and they did after all as gary mentioned give them
some dessert wine to make amends).
but please don't rule the place out. the place has
original, creative and exciting food and the clash of
flavors is bold but rocco manages to pull it off. and
the desserts are among the best in the city. take
re: steve d.
i'm totally with you on that, steve. i can't stand
places where people are jerks and those places
definitely should be penalized, but it's my sense here
that we're only getting one side of the story. as i
said before, i've been to UP more than my fair share of
times and thought the service was fine, and this is the
first time i've ever heard anything like this about UP,
and i know many who have been there. usually on a
thread like this, you'll get followups from people with
similar experiences. i think the lack of any here does
say something. anyway, glad to hear you'll give UP a
shot if the opportunity arises.
Ive certainly seen pork served as a one of the
condiments/toppings (like fried ginger or black beans)
in Chinatown restaurants. Its delicious - and a
fusion restaurant could certainly decide to play with
this concept (in addition to the very traditional link
of salt pork with chowder/white fish dishes that
Jonathan also noted). Flipping the equation over,
what about all the asian meat/pork dishes with fish
sauce or dried fish components?
If a restaurant does not bill itself as halal, kosher,
vegetarian, no MSG or such, those of us with
particular sensitivities, dietary prohibitions or
allergies have to look out for ourselves. Thank
heaven that not all our kitchens are cooking for the
same prototypical palate and prejudices!
re: Martha Gehan
hope you have a good time martha. try the tuna tartare
and ceviche for appetizers, and the skate entree is
always reliable. and for dessert, the hazelnut succes
is a must.
and remember, it's primarily a seafood restaurant (a
group from my office went a few weeks ago and were
disappointed but when i asked what they ate it was all
meat dishes). the horror!
Thanks Wonki for your suggestions. Our experience at
Union Pacific was near-flawless. No one in our party
had ever been there before, and the service could not
have been better. The staff was warm, attentive,
friendly without being obtrusive, and without a trace
of the stiff, overly formal behavior that some
restaurants seem to mistake for elegance. The space is
beautiful-simple, serene and comfortable-particularly
the roomy tables that one seldom finds in Manhattan.
And the food!! Striped bass tartare of incredible
freshness and delicacy, served with the plainest of
vinaigrettes and just a teeny bit of cilantro. I know
that DiSpirito is touted for his unusual juxtapositions
of flavors, but what impressed me about this dish and
others I tasted is that he not only combines disparate
elements with felicity but he knows when to stop and
resist over-gilding the lily. The flavors remain clear
and true even as you experience them in a new way. For
example, I adore skate, swiss chard and Indian lime
pickle so of course I had to order a main course
containing all three. It was utterly delicious ,
blending the three ingredients in a light and
fresh-tasting harmony-not easy I venture to say with
three relatively strong flavors. Everything I tasted,
and I tasted everything we ordered, achieved a like
balance. Seared big-eye tuna with yuzu,
truffle-crusted hake (ethereal), and the infamous
halibut (now topped with green onion and ginger-I hope
that's not a sign UP succumbed to the anti-pork
forces). A veal chop was in a tomato sauce which the
happy eater described as "nothing but tomato-but sooo
tomato-y-fantastic". Desserts-hazlenut succes, sweet
and juicy peach tart, molten chocolate cake-were
BUT-if you go to Union Pacific and you like wine, bring
your rich uncle or a duffle bag stuffed with cash.
Three bottles of wine, a cocktail each and a couple of
glasses of dessert wine brought the $65 prix-fixe to
$150 a head. it's not just that the list is high-end,
it's that it is seriously overpriced. My one example
is that a Horton viognier, a nice unpretentious wine
which retails at most for $10-11 was priced at $40!
And my chardonnay-loving and wine-savvy cousin, who is
not price-resistant, told me he was hard-pressed to
find one he thought worth the freight. So with that
caveat, I would say go and enjoy-lovely place, great
service, fabulous food-but quite pricey.
re: Martha Gehan
not at all. so glad you liked it. too bad about the
wines. i'd only been there for lunch so never really
took a long look at the list. however, i'm actually
going again tonight (my girlfriend talked me into it)
because i noticed some new stuff on the menu i hadn't
tried before. we'll talk more later this week.
My vocabulary is not sophisticated enough to review
Union Pacific. Let me start with magical, mystical,
miraculous, yada,yada,yada. Fill in the blanks. It
was an experience that I have had (in the food area)
only once or twice in my life.
2)Patina (in L.A) - there is no accounting for taste.
Let me see if I have this straight. You've got this
dietary restriction, you go out to eat without asking
your waiter whether your order conflicts with that
restriction, and then you're "livid" and throw a fit
when the dish doesn't happen to meet your personal
I must be missing something here. Are you saying that
because, as you say, "People often order fish for
health or religious reasons" that it's INCUMBENT on
every restaurant to make every fish preparation
completely healthy and unsullied by meat...or else post
People with wheat allergies often order rice. If rice
comes with semolina mixed in, is that grounds for going
postal on the staff? Should there be a boldfaced
warning on the menu?
There are people with peanut allergies who could DIE
from eating a peanut---a far more serious matter than
yours (I assume a bite of bacon wouldn't strike you
dead at the table...?). How many peanut warnings do you
see posted on menus? And what would/should be the
kitchen's culpability if such a diner ingested a peanut
without having first asked his waiter?