By Olivia Cuccaro
When it comes to the New York City dining scene, seemingly endless options can make it difficult to decide where to make a reservation. Rather than take a chance on an unknown restaurant, why not opt for an established favorite in a new setting? Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe has found a new home at 101 East 19th Street, close to its namesake park.
Founded in 1985, Union Square Cafe has won five James Beard awards for its outstanding service and contemporary American cuisine. In the new space, Executive Chef Carmen Quagliata has updated the menu for a fresher take on his native Italian cuisine. The restaurant is open for dinner every day, serves weekday lunch and offers brunch on the weekends. Begin with traditional aperitifs, then work your way to oysters or the savory appetizer menu for a delicious bibb & red oak leaf salad. Pasta dishes like a classic ricotta gnocchi or pappardelle with braised rabbit are merely an intro to main courses like pan roasted venison or butter roasted monkfish.
Perusing the extensive wine list makes it necessary to stay for dessert. Pastry Chef Daniel Alvarez creates exquisite treats like pumpkin bread pudding, buttermilk panna cotta and the aptly named 19th Street banana tart. Indulge while you sip the restaurant’s picks from the “30 Years of Friends and Family” menu. The list comprises winemakers who have had a special place in the wine cellar over the last three decades. Of course, there are also inspired signature cocktails like a pear, amaro, walnut, buckwheat honey and champagne spritz to enjoy. At the end of your meal, you won’t need to tip. The Union Square Hospitality Group is pioneering the “Hospitality Included” movement, which eliminates gratuity to more equitably compensate the restaurant team, and plans to extend this to sister restaurants.
The new atmosphere, just a few blocks from its original location, is bright and airy with large windows casting a pleasant light for daytime dining. There is more seating overall including two spaces for private dining and two stately-looking bars. A large mezzanine adds to the openness of the space, which is decorated in an Arts and Crafts style. Cherry wood with dark green accents are welcoming touches that create a warm environment perfect for your next New York dining experience.
Union Square Cafe is located at 101 East 19th Street, New York, NY 10003. For more information, please call +1 212 243 4020 or visit unionsquarecafe.com.