Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 31, 2001 04:02 PM

Union Sq Cafe

  • b

Just got back from the prix fixe lunch for restaurant week and it was great. what a deal. we ended spending $25 per person without any drinks. Had a mushroom pasta that would have been great as an entree, salmon that was slightly overcooked and lemon cheesecake. Someone had the veal which was excellent. The Chocolate flan and brown betty were also good desserts. overall a great first time at USC. i will be back

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. v
    victoria burghi

    Dear guest: it was a wonderful feeling to read your positive comments about your "first" time at our restaurant.I'm particulary delighted to hear how much you enjoyed my desserts.Some of those desserts will be featured in our upcoming cookbook and also on my new dessert menu.I hope you can join us again soon,and thank you for taking the time to write about us.
    Victoria Burghi
    Pastry Chef

    11 Replies
    1. re: victoria burghi
      yvonne johnson

      since when did this become a free ad board for restaurants? Goes for other posts (open letter from USC) to a disgruntled customer.

      1. re: yvonne johnson

        Calm down, Ms. Johnson...Ms. Burghi was only thanking the lady for her kind words about her work. I think that's nice. I would do the same. The plug about the book? Oh, well...

        1. re: yvonne johnson

          It has always been my understanding that these boards are open to the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of those of us in the industry as long as we are clear about our affiliations which seems to be the case in the aforementioned posts. I would think that participation from any establishment would be welcome and would further reduce the idea of "them vs us" and steer all dialogue towards "we"; those of us that enjoy great chow both as consumers and providers. And,HYPOTHETICALLY, what could be better than posting a question such as the current request for Aquavit recomendations and having Chef Marcus reply and discuss his thoughts on the current menu? And haven't we all asked our waiter for recomendations? I know I am consulted nightly in the restaurant itself.

          Captain at Gramercy Tavern
          Patron at Cedar Tavern! ;-)

          1. re: Chris

            Chris: You're absolutely right. If a chef, owner, member of the waitstaff, or anyone else associated with the establishement, including the *Captain*, discloses their affilation with the establishment, they're welcome with open arms! To quote the posting rules:

            "Those with a relationship to a given restaurant or other commercial venture must disclose their affiliation when discussing the place or its competitors. Identifying yourself as an insider will actually garner you MORE serious attention; we LOVE straight, non-hypey talk from restaurateurs and chefs."

            I'm sounding a bit redundant here, but I think this makes the position takes on this particular issue very clear. pat

            1. re: pat hammond

              "Identifying yourself as an insider will actually garner you MORE serious attention; we LOVE straight, non-hypey talk from restaurateurs and chefs."

              The essential phrase, of course, being "non-hypey".

              Talk to us like human beings, restaurant folks, not like "The Public". These boards are not a marketing/publicity opportunity, they are home to a community of really passionate food-savvy people. People just like yourselves.


            2. re: Chris

              "I would think that participation from any establishment would be welcome"

              Very much so, Chris. In fact, I'd be delighted if you--and your lurking colleagues--chimed in MORE often, though I realize you probably don't have much free time in your line of work.

              What inspired this (WAY over-harsh and disrespectful) reaction, I believe, was that Ms. Burghi's "Dear Guest" posting read more like a corporate form letter than actual human communication...and the book plug was hype on the wound.

              It's a question of tone. Canned-sounding "we're so pleased that you enjoyed your meal and hope you'll consider us again for your future dining plans" messages are at pretty serious odds with the tone of what we're doing here, so we discourage that sort of thing. You--a restaurant pro who has fit in and contributed beautifully here in a totally personal, non-hypey way--surely understand this.

              That said, Ms. Burghi may not have had a chance to gauge our tenor before stepping into the mix. That's why Deb H's more welcoming response was so apt (it's almost identical to the one I gave Anthony Bourdain when he first stopped by to breezily promote his pre-book writings--and he later became a wonderful participant). Like Deb, I would love to have Ms. Burghi contribute (in a more personal way!). And I apologize to her for the harshness of the reaction.


              1. re: Chris

                I think it's *terrific* that you and your colleagues are reading the boards and responding. I wish more restaurant industry people would do the same!

                I'm assuming that repeat custom is the Holy Grail, and if people vote with their feet and don't come back for *whatever* reason - you may never know the reason why. Diners sometimes find it intimidating or think it's futile to voice their opinions/complaints/etc. on the spot ,for many reasons: restaurant is busy; chief honchos not immediately in evidence; they don't want to appear kvetchy in front of their own guests or other diners - whatever.

                But as you can see, Chowhounds pull no punches here. And it's only through our feedback that you'll learn what we like & don't like...likewise, it's only through posting that we can learn a thing or two about what makes a restaurant tick, why they do what they do, etc. Win-win. Plus we may learn some state secrets :-)

                1. re: Chris
                  Dave Feldman

                  Just want to reiterate that your presence is welcomed here, and like Magnolia, I wish more restaurateurs would participate openly.

                  I especially enjoy that you contribute to discussions about matters other than just GT and USC while you are here, and are a full-fledged participating chowhound.

                2. re: yvonne johnson

                  I (like many others) welcome the contributions of restaurant owners/chefs/managers etc. on these boards, provided, of course, that they identify themselves where it is relevant.

                  Not only do we gain by hearing your opinions, we may gain by your hearing OUR opinions. I think reading and writing posts here is a sign of effort to please the customerss, namely, us. And I appreciate efforts to please me.

                3. re: victoria burghi


                  Welcome to! We look forward to your writing about many different topics, not only your own restaurant and books that you have a financial interest in. I'd be interested in a pastry chef's opinion of the best local bakeries, for example, or ideas for Jim on good cookie recipies, etc.

                  Deb H.

                  1. re: victoria burghi
                    yvonne johnson

                    i am very sorry that my comments in response to Ms Burghi's post were discourteous.

                    In addition to some of the points already raised, this was my thinking at the time. I believe this was the third recent post from USC in response to chowhounds' experiences at USC. On the general topics board two USC employees had posted open letters to a diner who'd been unhappy with one aspect of the service. I began to feel that USC was conducting their business here. I think a personal letter/email/phone call from the restaurant to the customer might have been more appropriate than an open letter. And if the 'hound later wanted to share that USC had been in touch with them, then that would have been up to them. That's just my take.

                    Jim has mentioned tone. This is most applicable to me! I sometimes find it very hard to gauge tone on the net, but it something I will pay special attention to. Once again, I'm sorry if my post was disrespectful.