Last night we decided to take the whole family to an early dinner at one of the new Minneapolis hot spots, Union. Located on the corner of the former Shinders at Hennepin and eighth, you have the option of either the first floor bar and dining room or the third floor rooftop – which was what we reserved for 5:15. That was really early, but we also got to enjoy an incredible amount of sunshine during our meal. The hostess said they hope to have the sliding glass roof open by the end of April.
Here are most of the items we selected off the menu:
- Donut holes savory with shallots, bacon, & vasterbotten cheese 6
- Assorted Seasonal Cheeses with Preserves & Walnut Bread 16
- Caesar Salad with Soft Boiled Egg & Garlic Brioche Crumble 9
- Crispy Chicken with Smoked Bacon, Poached Egg, FrisÃ©e Salad & Creamy Grits 19
- Skirt Steak Frites with Porcini BÃ©arnaise 22
- Grilled Rainbow Trout with Smoked Ham and Artichoke Chips 22
- Union Manhattan – cognac, carbonated cocchi barolo chinato, bitters
- PersianPussyCat – pomegranate gin, orange, vanilla, rose
- Sorbets and pineapple upside-down cake
I was a little concerned our youngest, pickiest eater wouldn’t try anything, but she did great with the cheese tray and the chicken. Drinks were really good, but I was disappointed with the donut holes (which every review I’ve read rave about). The rest of my meal was great, though: adding poached egg to a Caesar salad was brilliant and the crispy chicken was similar in presentation to the one at Borough (but different with the grits instead of buttery mashed potatoes).
Speaking of Borough, it seemed to me that these two restaurants have similar goals, but execute them a little differently (and perhaps towards different clientele). Colleen thought the music at Union was aimed towards a demographic a little older than us, but I’m pretty sure my old self is squarely in the group they try to please. Borough’s music was much hipper, with barely a hint of classic rock.
As you can see from the prices, they were reasonable for the type of restaurant Union strives to be. The atmosphere on the rooftop was lovely and I’d really like to see it at night too (preferably with the roof open and temps in the 70s). Service was very good from all staff we had contact with and included an actual “de-crumbing” and refolding of napkins when people in our group left the table to wash hands.
We walked through the first floor area to get to the elevator and I thought the vibe was pretty cool – high ceiling, industrial warehouse feel and Rube Goldberg-like connected ceiling fans reminiscent of those at the Raffles Long Bar in Singapore. The elevator is very slow and doesn’t hold many people, so prepare for a potential bottleneck there when it’s busy.
Very nice evening at yet another strong dining choice in the Twin Cities…