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All Reader Reviews of...

Union Square Cafe

21 E. 16th St., New York, NY, 10003
nr. Union Sq. West
212-243-4020

Avg. Rating

8
Food: 8
Service: 7
Décor: 8
"Recommended"

Average Reader Rating on a Scale of 10.

63% would go back.

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So good!

By BBfood on 1/16/2012

  • Overall Rating: 9
  • Food: 10
  • Service: 8
  • Décor: 8
  • Yes, I would go back!

I commonly am let down by "trendy" NYC restaurants or critic's picks, but this place was worth every dollar (and a lot were spent here!). The food is SO DELICIOUS, I can't recommend it more.

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73 out of 223 people found this review helpful.

Great Service, Average Food

By mky84 on 7/8/2011

  • Overall Rating: 8
  • Food: 7
  • Service: 10
  • Décor: 10
  • No, I would not go back!

I was inspired to come here due to Danny Meyer's book, Setting the Table. I do think the service was great, the server was polite, crumbs were swept off the table, water was refilled frequently, food came in a timely manner. The food was not particularly inspired. It was fine, but not spectacular. We had the calamari appetizer, which was pretty good. The Frascatelli pasta was average. The roasted cod with chorizo polenta was disappointing. My main complaint about the cod dish is that there is no texture contrast. The soft cod on top of soft polenta feels like mush in the mouth. The banana tart was pretty good, but not all that creative. When I travel to NY, I expect greatness, and I'm just disappointed that this restaurant is not pushing the boundaries to find new and exciting flavors.

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68 out of 157 people found this review helpful.

bad experience!

By treyfille on 11/6/2010

  • Overall Rating: 3
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 2
  • Décor: 3
  • No, I would not go back!

it started with the male host i sat for 10 minutes waiting for him to ask to check my coat i was holding, didn't happen, no smiles, i had to ask him to check it. as we waited the bartender zoomed by with a frown, was short and impatient, i asked about their white wines by the glass. he looked at me puzzled, "well do you like french or italian?" hunh?? i didn't know france and italy each had their own flavor? he was so rude and pushy, and decided he'd bring me a taste. he poured 2 of the last 4 drops in a glass for me to taste, it was good so i said give it a go. he continued to empty out the dribbles of wine, in the same tasting glass, then open up a new bottle, and continue pouring it mixing the wine. ?! i thought this was a big faux pas, especially a danny meyer restaurant! i pepped up and even voiced, "hey i thought you weren't supposed to mix bottles in one glass?" he was so rude, he told me no, that i was WRONG! he was condescending and unfriendly. our waitress was barely acceptable. she never introduced herself, and it took her halfway through the meal to make eye contact with us. she talked to us like we were children. i had the pork shoulder, it was served at best luke warm, got cold within 3 minutes. it had no flavor, it seemed as if it had been sitting under the warming burner for a long period of time, without the broth they poured on top, the braised pork would have even come out dry. imagine that. i don't need to go back there ever.

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114 out of 227 people found this review helpful.

nice to go back

By 22smiles on 4/12/2010

  • Overall Rating: 9
  • Food: 9
  • Service: 9
  • Décor: 9
  • Yes, I would go back!

USC was our neighborhod go-to when we lived in Chelsea. My Dad recently suggested to meet in the city & the family all met at USC. What a treat--they can still deliver. Just as we remembered. Fresh oysters, calamari, mascarpone polenta, gnocchi, the food kept coming--and of course, the banana tart. mmmm.

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154 out of 292 people found this review helpful.

Good, but not great

By amelialocks on 5/5/2009

  • Overall Rating: 7
  • Food: 7
  • Service: 7
  • Décor: 8
  • Yes, I would go back!

We've been to this restaurant several times as we have some friends that love it. Having had multiple meals here, I have to say the food is always consistently Good. It's never once been Great (or really awful for that matter). The bartender made a great martini, but I had to wait a solid 15 minutes for it. The waitress was efficient and helpful, but didn't smile once and I found myself continually trying to be more and more polite to garner a kind response from her (never happened). We were the last to leave the restaurant however, and no one rushed us from our table. It's hard to love the place, but hard to hate it as well.

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129 out of 269 people found this review helpful.

Saintly Service sent me to heaven

By KCosta on 4/16/2009

  • Overall Rating: 10
  • Food: 10
  • Service: 10
  • Décor: 9
  • Yes, I would go back!

You can't train people to be this authentic, such a wonderful staff. Cozy space (small) and dated decor, but delicious well prepared food. I could eat my last meal at the Union Square Cafe and call the experience heaven. Loved the calamari appetizer.

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134 out of 287 people found this review helpful.

bad new management

By RachelZ3 on 11/26/2008

  • Overall Rating: 6
  • Food: 10
  • Service: 1
  • Décor: 5
  • No, I would not go back!

Two hostesses discouraged my Nov 1 booking. This time I stopped in personally a day in advance to go over the seating arrangements for my son's stroller. We've been to USC with the stroller twice before- no issue. Jesse, a male host, apologized for the rude reception we received at the door. Just as I began to forget the trouble during the meal, Asst Mgr Jill came up behind me, put her hands on my back and told me that I would have to move the stroller to accommodate a male diner at another table. I tried to sort it out with Jill- she turned her back on me. I stood up to confront her. The male diner interceded to say that he has a child and he was quite happy with the stroller as it was. Jill's bizarre behavior explains the dismal performance of the blond hostesses. Our meal was wrecked, we cut it short, paid the bill, thanked the kind gentleman diner and left.

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155 out of 297 people found this review helpful.

Consistently excellent

By MsVicki on 1/5/2007

  • Overall Rating: 9
  • Food: 9
  • Service: 10
  • Décor: 10
  • Yes, I would go back!

I've been to Union Square Cafe several times and have never been disappointed. The food and service are consistently above expectations, although some dishes tend to be on the salty side. Don't have a reservation? Sit at the bar. You'll get to see all the action to and from the kitchen, make a new friend, and the bar tender will help you pick out a great meal if you can't make up your mind. If you're there at lunch time, order from the appetizer menu. Serving sizes are certainly big enough for a hearty eater. Not from New York? Skip Sardi's or Tavern on the Green (overrated) and stay away from the "pre-theater" restaurants. Take a short ride down to Union Square and enjoy a REAL meal. As a former New Yorker, I would not visit Manhattan without eating here.

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376 out of 764 people found this review helpful.

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