HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Are you making a specialty food? Share your adventure

Union Square Cafe

Anna Jun 22, 1999 02:08 AM

It was very interesting to hear the mixed reviews that
USC got. Nevertheless, I want to take my boyfriend
there for his birthday (he's curious to see what all
the hype is about). How far in advance do I need to
make reservations (for a Friday night dinner), and how
much approximately should I expect to be spending for
2 people? Thanks!

  1. s
    steve d. Jun 23, 1999 11:52 AM

    I agree with John on all counts, and would add that I'm always torn between the steak and the duck -- both are delicious. Don't listen to the naysayers; I'm not sure what they're expecting, but neither I nor anyone I've personally known has ever been disappointed in USC. It's a great experience from start to finish. It's not Adventures at the Cutting Edge of Gourmet Dining, nor does it pretend to be. It's just very good food with an excellent wine list and superb service. Enjoy!

    5 Replies
    1. re: steve d.
      Jacqui Jun 23, 1999 11:04 PM

      Don't listen to the naysayers? When there are as many
      'naysayers' as there are enthusiasts, I would say they
      bear some attention...Union Square Cafe has more than
      its share of detractors.

      However, they do have a superb wine list and the
      service is friendly and attentive...when the drinks
      finally do get to your table. It's not a bad
      restaurant, just an overrated, expensive one. I think
      the final tab far exceeds the dining experience. (But
      another basket of those heavenly garlic chips would
      ease the pain immensely.)

      1. re: Jacqui
        steve d. Jun 24, 1999 10:05 AM

        Don't want to get into a "sez who? -- sez me" thing here, but it's simply not true that "there are as many
        'naysayers' as there are enthusiasts" -- I had literally never heard or seen a bad word about the place until some people at NY Press started bitching about it a couple of years back out of their lovable contrarian spirits, and I've never seen a bad word about it on this site until the recent posting that apparently gave a few other naysayers the courage to come out in public. I respect their views, they've obviously had different experiences than I and all the people I know who rave about the place, but they are in a distinct minority and I hope will remain so.

        1. re: steve d.
          wonki Jun 24, 1999 11:02 AM


          i know you well from your many posts on chowhound (i
          think you even defended me once from some bully -
          thanks for that), so i'm a bit surprised to see you so
          adamant and a bit defensive here. but i don't agree
          that it's a distinct minority of people here who
          dislike usc. obviously, in the larger scheme of
          things, we would be a minority (usc is rated as the
          NY'ers #1 fave in Zagat, which is why so many people
          take issue with the place, including myself), but as
          for the site I'd say things are pretty much split, and
          that's a good thing so when someone goes there, they
          can pretty much decide for himself/herself with an open

          you say you don't want to get into a sez who sez me
          thing but i think if you go back and read your post
          you'll see that that's the way the tone of your post
          reads. anyways, as happens many times out here, let's
          all agree to disagree and not get too caught up in it.

          p.s.-if you check out my post on eleven madison park
          last month, i did mention usc as being overrated.



          1. re: wonki
            David Martin Jun 28, 1999 02:41 PM

            My wife and I recently had dinner there. We really
            enjoyed the entire evening. The hostess was timely and
            courteous. The food was not adventurous but wonderful
            and the waitstaff were superb. I would highly
            reccommend USC.

      2. re: steve d.
        Claire Jul 13, 1999 12:26 AM

        Sorry to say, I've been disappointed at USC, including
        greasy, pre-cooked and barely re-heated chips, slow
        service, and so-so food. Not worth a return trip.

      3. j
        john Jun 22, 1999 10:29 AM

        For a Friday night, better call 30 days ahead. If they
        can't take you, ask to be put on the waiting list. Make
        another reservation somewhere else so you're covered,
        then call USC (if they don't call you) the day you want
        to go, Chances are you'll get in. Phone staff are
        extremely polite and helpful but if they're booked,
        they're booked.

        Expect to spend about $60-75 each for a dinner with

        I'm always amazed by people who are disappointed at
        USC. The waitstaff is professional and helpful and the
        food is terrific. BUT it's not haute cuisine. If you're
        expecting (or hoping for)a fancy food experience, go to
        Lespinasse. USC food is home cooking raised to the
        highest level: great tastes and seasonal ingredients,
        creative ways of preparing familiar dishes, everything
        done just right. Simple things like spinach and steak
        and the best fried calamari anywhere plus a wine list
        with choices from all over at every price level mean
        it's tough to go wrong at USC. I'm sure you'll enjoy

        1 Reply
        1. re: john
          chef Jun 22, 1999 12:11 PM

          i think usc is all hype.the food is ok at best,its the
          service and danny myers reputation that carries it.why
          wait to eat at a fair restaurant.

        Show Hidden Posts