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Recommendations for Union Square Cafe

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I've made a reservation at USC for my gf and me. Any dishes that I should put on the to-try list? We eat everything.


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  1. During my recent dinners at USC I've enjoyed the polenta with taleggio and wild mushrooms (for me, it's even better than the version at Scarpetta), beet and blue cheese salad, garganelli with zucchini pesto and stracciatella, the corn side dish with scallions and sweet paprika, and the banana tart with macadamia brittle and honey vanilla ice cream.

    I've heard that the burger is amazing but I haven't tried it yet.

    1. The thing l would spring for is a wine by Quintarelli, they have one of the best selections anywhere on the Veronese superstar and it is my favorite winemaker in the world.

      1. The strawberry napoleon is absolutely delicious. Their burger is available at dinner, and it's a very good burger, but I wouldn't get it unless you love burgers because at the end of the day, it's still just a burger.

          1. Thanks for the replies so far - our reservation is for dinner and I'm a featherweight when it comes to alcohol. When I say featherweight I mean anything more than three sips of wine will make my head light as feather.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kyph0515

              Well in that case, my thoughts of recommending their classic cocktails likely wouldn't help. Irrespective, they personally make a great simple Martini, Negroni, and Old Fashioned.

              As far as food is concerned, I've never had an issue with anything on their menu. Just a great neighborhood spot with impeccable service and a homey feel. I'd recommend simply what you feel like eating on the day and I'm sure it'll be great :)

              Have fun

            2. The pasta dishes we have had there, usually starters, have always been very very good.

              1. Report:

                We had a wonderful time at USC last night. We might've made a mistake in estimating their portion sizes (pants were a little tight afterward), but a solid meal was had and the overall experience was great.

                Between the two of us we had:

                - marinated beets: very flavourful; my favourite starter
                - crispy pig ears: a bit too sweet for my taste - I needed the tarragon mustard for balance
                - fried calamari: a generous heap of crispy calamari - no complaints there

                - papperdelle with rabbit: went well with the chanterelle - gf's favourite
                - fettucine with goat ragu: I would've liked the goat a bit gamier and the sauce a bit thicker, but tasty nonetheless

                - scallops: three pan-seared; sweetness retained in the scallops but I'm not sure about the chestnut puree
                - lamb chops: very generous portion (four!); correctly cooked and very tender; the sides were too aggressively salted, though

                - banana tart: I don't usually like bananas or macadamia but I quite enjoyed this; towards the end of it I felt it a bit too heavy, though
                - porter sundae: interesting, but the popcorn sort of gets in the way

                As an added touch, they spelled out "Happy Anniversary" around the banana tart (I had mentioned the occasion on OpenTable) and brought out the gift I had previously dropped off on cue. Our waitress whose name I regret not to have caught was warm, friendly, and knowledgeable, and made our meal that much more enjoyable.

                The space is a bit cramped, but I didn't feel uncomfortable. The waitstaff had to maneuver around some tables once in a while and that's about it. It was a good night.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kyph0515

                  Thanks for reporting back and I agree, you did order a lot of food for 2. The place has gotten a bad rap over the past 5-7 years has come back strong in 2011/12