Smoky sounds emanated from the accordion glass doors, opened wide to the SoHo street, letting the first breezes of summer into Union Bar & Kitchen. The low sunlight of the early evening reflected on the mirror just above the bar and antique mirrors wrapping the walls, played on the white subway tile and danced on the high ceilings.
Another glance up led to the elaborate paintings, transporting diners to another era depicting old time streets, jazzy feasts, and live music complete with a chanteuse. Artist, Clifford Bailey, brings forward the roaring twenties and a kind of liberation that hums to the tune of Owner, Executive Chef, and General Manager, Jonathan Renert’s vision— a union of flavors in a comfortable setting, a restaurant bar to get lost in time in and enjoy the present tense.
Newly open, UBK presents a lively mix of New American cuisine with global influences including Mexican, Asian and French twists. Dinner offers classics— daily selection of oysters, clam chowder and moules mariniere to west coast cioppino rubbed rotisserie chicken. Lunch brings taquitos, fish tacos, and pulled chicken sandwiches. The bar menu puts a spin on the bar food cliché with smoked trout devilled eggs and Three Little Pig pork belly sliders. A clean drinks menu proposes diverse cocktails, a variety of draft and bottled beers, and a wide range of wines.
Smooth and creamy bright green guacamole with a radiant note of lemon came paired with crunchy triangle chips. Each fresh and full, while the jalapeño cornbread spoke volumes of comfort and warmth at home.
Delicate strands of spicy red pepper threaded through the Hamachi Tartare, while cubed yellow tail played with the tiny beads of sesame and poppy seeds. Even the briny capers sang, bringing studs of salt and firmness. A crispy crust led to the succulent oyster at the heart of the fried oysters, drizzled with the heat of chili tonkatsu sauce and cooled with tangy tarter sauce underneath— a blending of feelings.
Perfectly cooked hanger steak marinated for 24 hours produced a gamey essence and rhythm, but stumped. While the creamed spinach was cozy, dotted with soft carrots and celery. Hot French fries boasted herbal melodies of rosemary and earthy chords of potatoes and spice. A chili avocado slaw decorated the crunchy tilapia nestled deep in warmed flour tortillas, pulling together a harmonious taste of somewhere else in the popular fish tacos. Clear and straightforward dishes were elevated with quality, depth and details.
Cubes of chocolate brownie dusted with powdered sugar spoke secrets of raspberry compote and ancho chili adding crunch and heat to the sweet ending, which made the chocolate deeper and more sophisticated. Peanut butter also got an elevated treatment, warm and salty mixed with the crunch of fried tortilla in this dessert take on chimichangas, pretty with a boule of vanilla ice cream.
UBK’s curated menu contains memories of the familiar while twists introduce international accents. The assemblage offers moments of here and there that illustrates the background of Renert, emphasized in the timeless décor, vibing art and unpretentious ambiance.
Union Bar & Kitchen
300 Spring Street
New York City, NY 10013
New York City, NY 10013
Tel: (646) 791-0005