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Union Square Cafe?

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!

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  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.