HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Union Square Cafe?

hreisig Dec 22, 2006 04:18 PM

My father is coming into town, and likes the straight forward style of places like Union Square Cafe (as do I). I have reservations there, but the reviews on menupages have been dissing the service recently. My family is a cast of charachters, and somewhere with very understanding professional service is sort of a must if I'm to survive without needing 3 cocktails (I'm sure a few of you know what i mean). I haven't been to Union Square Cafe in a few years, and was curious if its gone downhill, or if people were just kvetching. I had really nice experiances there in the past.
I was also thinking of Perry St., which was wonderful, but it's a little out of the way for transit. The other thought I had was Blue Hill, but i feared it would be too expensive (my father is from out of town, so can get annoyed with high prices for very small portions), but haven't been there yet, so don't know if I'm wrong. Thoughts, suggestions?
Thanks and Happy Holidays!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. r
    RGR RE: hreisig Dec 22, 2006 05:39 PM

    It's been ages since our dinner at USC, so I can't comment on the possibility that service is not up to par. But it seems unlikely since one of the hallmarks of Danny Meyer restaurants is excellent service. Frankly, I wouldn't put complete trust in the comments on Menupages. Perhaps, some Hounds who have been there lately (and whose I opinions I would trust) will chime in.

    Re: Blue Hill. When we had dinner there, the portions were quite sufficient though not if your father is of the hanging-off-the-plate persuasion. When it comes to cost, the best thing to do is to take a look at the prices on their website and judge whether they will give him sticker shock.

    http://www.bluehillnyc.com/menu.html

    You might want to consider going to Hearth. The Italian accented New American cuisine is excellent, and prices are lower than Blue Hill's. Also, it's a more spacious restaurant, which allows for ample room between tables, as opposed to the *very* close seating at Blue Hill.

    http://www.restauranthearth.com

    1. r
      Rodrigo RE: hreisig Dec 22, 2006 05:41 PM

      I was just there this past Wednesday. I sat at the bar and, as a result, many different aspects of service were on full display. The staff seemed very polite and helpful. During the course of my meal, there were a few "spirited" guests making unusual requests and their needs were met with professionalism and a smile.

      Incidentally, I had a yellow fin tuna appetizer and scallops with roasted vegetables as an entree. Both were heavenly.

      1. r
        rothsteg RE: hreisig Dec 22, 2006 05:52 PM

        I can see people quibbling about the food, but service at USC is outstanding and manages the trick of combining highly professional service and personal service. I was in recently with a group of 8 for the ocassion of my uncle's 77th birthday which I mentioned in making the reservation. From the moment we checked in at the podium, when my uncle was wished a happy birthday, to the greeting from our server, to the special desserts, we were treated as if our being there was the only reason the restaurant was open that night.

        That's typical of the place and I wouldn't worry about bad service.

        1. s
          shannoninstlouis RE: hreisig Dec 22, 2006 06:03 PM

          My husband and I dined there in late September. We are from out of town and it was my first trip to NYC. We'd had a horrendous day, lost luggage, a freeze on our credit card (long story) and a missing wallet scare, all of which we laid out to the server in probably agonizing detail. Anyway, they were lovely to us and made all seem right with the world. I had lamb chops which were quite delicious.

          1. a
            asdf RE: hreisig Dec 22, 2006 10:09 PM

            I was at USC 2 weeks ago, and the service is definitely still up to standards. The entire front-of-house staff was friendly, and my waiter was very sweet. He was knowledgeable about the menu, and took a bunch of pictures for us, when we were fine with 1. When we left, the bar area was a madhouse, but the hostess made a point of bidding us farewell. Only funny thing was throughout the meal, I saw groups of waiters standing around, some dazed and some talking in groups. But my waiter was certainly there whenever we needed him - we did not feel abandoned at all.

            1. s
              s.piller RE: hreisig Dec 23, 2006 03:06 AM

              We last ate at Union Square Cafe in the last few months and had a very nice meal with outstanding service.
              We have always enjoyed Blue Hill, but I do not think there is that much of a price difference.

              1. m
                MichaelG RE: hreisig Dec 23, 2006 04:18 AM

                Had an outstanding dinner the other night at Gotham Bar and Grill. Food was delicious, and service was, in a word -- perfect. If you can get in, go. Can't vouch for affordability -- you get what you pay for -- but if top notch food is what you're after...run, don't walk, to GB&G. Serivce is so good, that you should be able to get your 3 cocktails in 30 minutes...

                1. a
                  Aleppo Pepper RE: hreisig Dec 29, 2006 08:52 PM

                  I think that USC is a great idea--I have a wacky family and we've done well there. Blue Hill is definitely not for a kooky group because it's small, quiet, and a little too lovely. Gotham Bar and Grill is also a very good suggestion (my family leans toward the tacky side and they thought it was "gawgeous" and the tower-high servings impress). I've also had luck at the Red Cat. The food is very clean and yummy. The service is excellent.

                  1. a
                    Aleppo Pepper RE: hreisig Dec 29, 2006 08:53 PM

                    I think that USC is a great idea--I have a wacky family and we've done well there. Blue Hill is definitely not for a kooky group because it's small, quiet, and a little too lovely. Gotham Bar and Grill is also a very good suggestion (my family leans toward the tacky side and they thought it was "gawgeous" and the tower-high servings impress). I've also had luck at the Red Cat. The food is very clean and yummy. The service is excellent.

                    1. a
                      arpup RE: hreisig Sep 22, 2007 11:29 PM

                      Try the Tarallucci e Vino on 15 East 18th Street, near Union Square. The coffee is great, they have fine salads and the lunches are very good.

                      Show Hidden Posts