State of the Union
This past Saturday night I ventured out in the torrential downpour to try Union Sushi & Barbeque Bar, which opened last week in the River North neighborhood. The restaurant features an open lofted design with a second floor bar overlooking the dining area. Brightly colored graffiti covers the walls and silver metal is all around giving the restaurant a futuristic and somewhat sterile feel. A large wrap-around bar seats about 15 and gives those diners a front row seat to the 600° Robata grill and sushi making.
The Asian/American menu features barbecued meats and a variety of standard and unusual sushi rolls. We started our meal with the Truffled Tuna prepared with truffle oil, avocado, parmesan and chile fresco served with wonton chips. This was a “less is more” situation. To some truffle can be an overwhelming flavor, but the drizzle on this dish was so light making it pleasantly simple, fresh and delicious. I also really enjoyed the seasoned wonton chips served with the tuna.
The word “slider” usually catches my attention so naturally I ordered Union’s take on the mini burger with Wagyu beef, tare-glazed grilled pineapple, sunny-side up quail egg and cilantro. This was the tiniest slider I have ever seen (pictured below for proof). But that wasn’t my issue; I could not taste the beef, let alone any of the other flavors topping the shrunken slider. Save your craving for your favorite burger joint.
The brussel sprouts were hands down my favorite part of the meal. I love brussel sprouts anyway, but Union went ahead and added oyster mushrooms, pesto, lemon and parmesan cheese. The dish was rich and tangy and A-maaaazing!
For sushi we ordered the Spicy Tuna Roll, Clifton #2 and two pieces of salmon sashimi. The Clifton #2 is fried calamari, green onion, grilled asparagus, cilantro, marble nori (a type of seaweed) with garlic mayo. Although I gravitated toward the Spicy Tuna Roll, I give them props for their originality with Clifton #2 and their other specialty rolls.
We also tasted a variety of the skewers from the barbeque bar. The jumbo shrimp and beef filet skewers were grilled to my liking, however they lacked flavor other than what was derived from the grill marks. I was expecting more from the tiny skewers considering the barbeque is such an integral part of the restaurant’s concept.
The meal wrapped with Tofu Chocolate Mousse and red bean cookies. I was the only one interested in dessert so I happily and singlehandedly cleaned the plate.