Thursday, June 15, 2017

Union Restaurant - Portland, Maine

Restaurant Review 

By Don Taylor


We arrived in downtown Portland very early for a show at the Merrill Auditorium.  We walked past the Union Restaurant and looked at the menus of several of the many restaurants along Exchange Street. We decided to come back to Union and give them a try.

Before we went in, it was our plan to sit at the bar, have drinks and hors d'oeuvres before the show.  Seating was a breeze as there was only one other person sitting in the bar, although there were a couple groups seated in the lounge area. 

Eric, our bartender was amazing.  His martini and Manhattan preparations were classic. Going against James Bond’s preference, his were “stirred, not shaken.” I think stirring is a much more civilized way to make a martini.  Also, as Eric stirred, he watched carefully and stopped when the melt was perfect, something that can’t be done when a drink is shaken.

We ordered truffle laced potato chips with a goat’s milk ranch dip and “Cheese and Charcuterie” which was the Chef’s seasonal selection of local cheeses and artisan meats along with local honey, fig jam, walnuts, and bread.

Cheese and Charcuterie
Union Restaurant, Portland, ME
Josh Berry, the executive chef of Union Restaurant, was honored by the Main Restaurant Association as their Chef of the Year for 2017. I only say that because when this Chef selected the meats and cheeses they are amazing. The presentation was beautiful and the tastes were both complex and varied. I don’t believe I had ever had capers on the stem before – Delicious.  Even the pickled green beans were surprisingly tasty.  The ham was among the most flavorful I’ve had and the sausage slices were exquisite. I’ve not had an appetizer better anywhere. 

Truffle Laced Potato Chips
Union Restaurant
Likewise, the truffle laced potato chips were sublime simplicity. With the dip, these magnificent potato chips were elevated far above normal bar fare.

Ratings - 4.2

Ambiance: 4 (Clean and open, good for conversations.)
Food: 5 (Every item was perfect.)
Service: 5 (Server was friendly and attentive.)
Price: 3 (A bacon cheeseburger runs $15 for lunch)
Value: 4 (I don’t know of any places, without tablecloths, that are nicer.)

Conclusion

The Union Restaurant is on my short list of truly excellent restaurants in downtown Portland. We will return.

Location

Union Restaurant, 390 Congress St, Portland, ME 04103


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