NYC hound visits Boston: UNION Bar and Grille
Arrived to Boston Friday and had 8.30pm reservations at Union. Had pear martini at bar. Was too sweet. Garnished with what looked like a canned pear. No big deal though.
Service was really spot on. 'Quinn' our waiter. Started with a warm little skillet of corn bread. Eh. No taste. Not worth spoiling your appetite. We left it untouched after the initial taste. Didn't do appetizers, but we did have the smoky bacon and sweet corn risotto as a side. So heavy and rich, but very nice to have a few tastes of with the entrees. I ordered the duck which I loved. Friend had the halibut and liked its smokiness - again from the addition of bacon. The real highlight of the meal was the talented sommelier, Kelly Wooldridge. Quinn noticed my pouring over his list and sent Kelly over: great variety of price ranges, all areas of the world represented. The organization of the list was a bit odd, as he lists his wines in order of flavor profile: from small/light to big and bold.
He guided us to a Spanish red which I'd never had - I've been on a Ribera del Duero and Jumilla kick. ’01 tempranillo, coto de imaz. He offered to decant (I decant EVERYTHING - old and young) and even seasoned the decanter with the same wine that was left over from another table. He won my heart. It was a wonderful wine at $44, I think. We got the cheese course after our meal - average in its cheeses, but nice accompaniments and very large portions. Kelly sent over a dessert wine, a lighter-bodied sauternes. Later he sent over a sample of his specialty - sherry. It was a deep, dark, unctuous sherry, which he served with a square of Ghiradelli 60% cacao dark chocolate. It was, by far, the best chocolate pairing I've ever had - a traditionally difficult match. He even told me he played around with different cacao percentages to find the perfect harmony. Is that a perfectionist, or what?
Kelly mentioned that he was awaiting a shipment of various nuts, particualarly [smoked] marconas, from Spain. He would use them to set up a special jerez tasting soon. How amazing (and a bit esoteric) is THAT? He is the sommelier for the entire Aquitaine Group, a Master Sommelier, and 23 years old. Totally a star. We tipped him generously, and I think he was surprised.
OTHER DINING LAST WEEKEND:
*Chopped salad with steak at Abe and Louie's bar. Glass of Jim Barry Shiraz. Drank away a nice afternoon there on Saturday before the game. Excellent bar service.
*Sunday, after ICA, went to Barking Crab and just had beers as service on the deck was slow and food not 'speaking to us'. Headed over to Kingfish for half a dozen succulently fresh peel-and-eat shrimp (only ten bucks!) and a dozen mixed oyters - east and west coast. Fresh horseradish. Just great seafood and friendly, crisp service. We were at the sparsely populated bar.
*Monday, after a run all over town, I stopped into Flour (on Washington) for a curry tuna sandwich. The line was ridiculous and in my experience the wait there is forever. (Can someone explain why that is? It is all cold food, or nuked. And, why do you put up with it? The place isn't THAT great.) So I went across the street to Code 10 and didn't expect much really. However I had the BEST chicken salad sandwich on rosemary focaccia. Really was great and I have totally been on a chicken salad obsession for about 3 months now. They had two containers of house mustard: tequila infused, and sweet and sour. Also make homemade ice cream.
Overall, good Boston eating weekend. GREAT WINE EXPERIENCE AT UNION.