When I heard there was a new kid on the block in my Union Square neighborhood, I put it to the top of my brunch list. Union Fare made a big splash from the start on social media with its birthday cake croissants, and I had high hopes that the rest of its brunch offerings would be just as newsworthy.
We set a date with good friends and met on a quiet summer morning for the first weekend of Union Fare’s brunch service. I was frankly shocked at how big the space was. It takes up the depth of entire city block, with market-style eateries on one side, and a massive bar and dining room in the restaurant.
Arriving right at the start of brunch only made the space seem more expansive, as we were one of the only prompt diners there. By the time we left, however, it was packed. This is a good place for groups and parties because of the space alone; you can actually breathe in there! There’s also a massive downstairs space for private events, FYI.
We ordered coffees for the table to begin, and our waiter was so attentive with refills that by the end of the meal we were all shaky from caffeine. No complaints here! My only initial sadness was the realization that the croissants weren’t able to be ordered from sit down brunch. Union Fare should definitely start adding their pastries to the restaurant menu to build on the buzz.
The first thing that struck me about the menu was how many unique brunch items there were. From chicken and carrot cake waffles to loaded tater tots, the brunch menu had a big mix of items for both the savory and sweet brunchers.
We decided to start with the three smashes for the table, and settled on the summer berries with housemade ricotta and honey, the avocado with tomatoes and cheddar, and the burrata with olive oil and balsamic.
I couldn’t partake in the thick slices of sourdough bread the smashes were served on, but I reveled in eating spoonfuls of cheese and avocado! They were all delicious, and a perfect appetizer for sharing.
For mains, Paul ordered the ultimate breakfast sandwich from the “fun” menu section, served on a cinnamon roll with a bacon glaze, apple sausage, egg, and cheese. As you might imagine, there was a lot going on with this dish. Paul wasn’t a huge fan of the sweet with savory blend. He opted out of using the side of bacon glaze because he didn’t want to incorporate that into the egg bite. While we appreciated the creativity, we wouldn’t order this again.
Danielle ordered eggs any style with tots and a market salad. This was straightforward; exactly the “simple” what she was looking for.
Chris ordered the baked eggs with spiced tomato sauce, chorizo, eggplant, and eggs. He didn’t think this was any great shakes, and described the dish as “two soft boiled eggs covered in tomato sauce.” The chorizo and eggplant flavor didn’t come through.
I really wanted the brunch bowl with whole grains, beans, pollo pibil, guacamole, salsa, crema, and a fried egg, but unfortunately this dish isn’t gluten free. With so many gluten-free grains to choose from, I was in luck, and the chef agreed to tweak this just for me. It was all of my favorite Mexican flavors all in one place, and with heaping scoops of guacamole, what’s not to love?
With about five more coffees each (kidding…) we cleared our plates and called it a day.
The Bitches say: C+. This is a brunch newcomer with a menu offering a blend of fun items and standard classics with potential. We’ll come back for a re-review when they iron out some newcomer brunch kinks, as some dishes missed their mark.
7 East 17th Street
Union Fare serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.