A voice from the past! Wayne and I enjoyed this restaurant so much, I wanted to tell everyone about the great food! The Kitchen at Union Square is part of the Culinary Institute of Virginia College. We were told by our server that the students are working on their internships. The Kitchen is located in the Tallan Building – the old Cellar, at 2 Union Square.
There were many intriguing and creative dishes on the menu, but being the middle of the day, neither of us wanted anything really heavy. Of course, they offered several soups and sandwiches, but I wanted something different.
I knew I wanted to try the Union Oysters. They were beautiful atop wilted spinach, Nueske’s Bacon and Parmesan ($8). You get three oysters on a long plate. Presentation here is beautiful. To accompany the oysters, I ordered Parmesan Truffle Fries ($7). When they were placed in the center of the table, the aroma was outstanding. I loved the crispness of the fries and the taste, which was not overwhelming.
Wayne ordered the Salmon and Brie Salad featuring field greens, dried cranberries, roasted bell pepper, vanilla poached pears and candied nuts with a Lavender vinaigrette ($14). The salmon was perfectly cooked. I hate going to a restaurant where they never ask the degree of doneness you want your salmon and they bring it to you WAY overdone. Some places even give you a “look” if you say you want it “medium rare”. This time they asked, and it was a perfect medium rare and Wayne said it was delicious.
We enjoyed The Kitchen so much, we went back several weeks later for a second visit. It was difficult to pass on those oysters, but I really wanted to try something new. Wayne felt the same about the salmon.
I started with potato leek soup, and for my entrée ordered the braised short ribs (served with blini, carrots and coke bouillion), $13. The blini is a very thin potato pancake placed on the plate with the ribs topping it and the carrots atop the ribs. I wish I knew how they got this so tender. I took half of it home and all I could think about was when could I eat those leftovers – I kept thinking about that wonderful taste and tenderness with the bouillion poured over it.
Wayne ordered the hanging tender with fries, $14. He said the steak was just as tender as my ribs. The fries were perfect – crisp on the outside, moist and soft on the inside. It is served with a garlic mayo, catsup and a dipping sauce.
During lunch the most expensive item on the menu is $14, so the prices are reasonable. The house soup, served daily, is Roasted Butternut Squash, and there is always a soup of the moment and a Sustainable Fish of the Moment”. Several sandwiches and burgers are offered, including a BGLT – the G is for a fried green tomato rather than the standard tomato slice.
For dinner the prices are a bit more, but the menu also changes. In place of the hangar tender, you have a hangar steak with brown butter whipped potatoes, roasted shallots and hangar sauce ($19). Other items on the dinner menu include tuna, pork chop, and chicken.
We really like The Kitchen at Union Square and hope they are there for a long time. It would be great if we would support this teaching college and not only help these chefs get trained for their future, but have a great restaurant for our city’s future. While there, you would never guess it is a teaching restaurant. You feel as though you are in a fine dining establishment. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Service is excellent and the servers we have had on our visits have been very knowledgeable regarding the menu. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 9:00 PM (bar closes at 10:00 PM), Friday and Saturday, 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM (bar closes at 11:00 PM) and Sunday Brunch from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM. I think brunch may be our next foray!
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