In the last few years, modern and beautiful food hall concepts have been popping up all over Manhattan—hate it or love it, there are lots of trendy and playful options curated in one space. Via word of mouth, I've been hearing the most amazing things about Union Fare. I knew I'd have to go at some point but for some reason wasn't entirely compelled. In the heat of the summer, I finally dragged my sweaty self there, took one step inside and entirely understood why people kept telling me that this was a place for me.
The space is dim in the day time with an industrial chic vibe emphasized by an array of iron and rope enveloped hanging lamps and wooden tabletops and floors. Inside, there is a bar, a restaurant driven by Executive Chef Yvan Lemoine, and counter service stations that are each labeled with what they sell—pizza, poké, tacos, salads, juice, burgers. It should be noted that the counter service in the Gastro Hall portion is open Monday-Friday 11AM-3PM there is a pause for turnover and then the restaurant opens from 5PM-10:30PM, ooh, and then they keep the Gastro Hall closed on weekends so that the restaurant can be open for brunch. It's a great way to use the space.
More importantly, the quality of the food blew me away. There is a level of sophistication in their menu that, simply put, you just don't see in other food halls. It's not trying to be gimmicky or over the top, no, instead it puts out thoughtfully crafted clean dishes. The pulled chicken in the tacos was both moist and flavorful—with more dishes than I could possibly stomach sitting in front of me, I could not stop eating it until it was entirely gone. It's the quality of the ingredients. Thinking about this while I was eating, I knew my next bite had to be of the poké—it's that kind of dish that you can measure the attention to freshness that a restaurant pays. Mind you, I'm always skeptical of poké being served in a restaurant that serves other menu items that, well, have nothing to do with raw seafood or anything to do with Hawaiian cuisine. You'll be happy to know that this one passed with flying colors. Every single bite and sip I tried was excellent. Go and lunch happily.