-Grubbing in Chicago
New on the Scene
We had a very nice Mothers Day Brunch at Urban Union on Taylor street this past moms day. When I heard we were going I was surprised to see that the place wasn't talked about much over on LTHforum or the rest of the internet for that matter. It's a small plate place with a "new American" menu that also does brunch. I enjoyed my trip there to the point where I would go back on my own dollar and not my dads. Lets check them out.
In University Village on Taylor Street
As many already know Taylor Street is considered Chicago's "Little Italy" and for a while it was but nowadays its reaching past the assumption that it's all Italian places such as Rosebud and Al's or Mario's. Urban Union is one of the places bringing more than slices of pizza, Italian beef, chicken vesuvio and cigars and such to the neighborhood these days.
The menu has European influence that touches down on Italian cuisine but not the type you find at its neighbors places. Everything we tried I liked and wouldn't have a problem ordering or eating them again. Reminder that I did not pay for this meal. But the prices are reasonable with the average plate being around $11. Of course some things were better than others such as the wood roasted head on shrimp bathed in a lemon garlic butter sauce which were excellent, especially the juice sucked from the heads. The farro and arugula salad along with the Bar Harbor mussels served with chorizo, garlic, san marzano tomatoes and herbs were both tasty too.
Wood Roasted Head on Shrimp
My favorite side of the meal was their French potatoes which come cooked in duck fat with sea salt chervil and shallot butter. These were creamy and addictive, some of the best potatoes I can remember having of late. One of the Italian focused dishes is their porchetta which is a very fine version of this dish. It starts out as a pork tenderloin which is wrapped and covered in soffrito and then is then placed inside a butterflied pork belly. Sound good? It was. My moms favorite dish of the meal was the Pacific reef fish which I want to say was tile fish that day. Topped with spicy tomato, nicoise olives, caperberris and braised baby fennel this was a real winner which I thoroughly enjoyed as well.
Pacific Reef Fish
As I mentioned already this is brunch but the menu isn't much like the other places who lean more toward breakfast when they do theirs. This is a meat and potatoes brunch with some seafood thrown in kind of meal. The most "brunchy" thing we got though was also really good. The pork schnitzel Benedict was a heavy filling marriage of breaded tenderloin with a fantastic rendition of hollandaise sauce. The suckling lamb didn't look like much as far as presentation goes but it was good and that's all that matters to me. If its art why are we eating it and turning it into you know what when done.
Pork Schnitzel Benedict
To end our meal we went with some of the housemade pasta, a tagliatelle with asparagus, wild mushrooms, pancetta, pea shoots and Parmesan. This was an excellent pasta dish which is also what the desserts were. I'm not sure why this place doesn't get more love but I'm going to give it some more soon. I look forward to trying their whole roasted fish which is made in the wood burning oven that also cooks up some other things from their menu. If you haven't been or were planning on going eventually, you should get on over.
Housemade Tagliatelle Pasta
1421 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607