Union is finally open on Ossington as Chef Teo Paul will share his tale of hardships and grief of getting it to this point with all the delays in his very candid blog in Toronto Life "Opening Soon. http://www.torontolife.com/daily/opening-soon/
He exclaims towards the end of the blog that his hope is that Union will become: a soft place to land; a good warm place to refuel and be together. Paul's wish has become a reality because as we walked in, we feel immediately comforted by the warmth of this place his exposed brick and perhaps because it was very hot in the restaurant itself. It was an exceptionally muggy night outside but there was really not much relief inside there is an open kitchen where you can watch the masters and Teo Paul at work. You are greeted at the front with a welcoming bar where the dining area is separated with a huge shelf of wines.
The style of the restaurant is a simple menu with a focus on localized and/or organic produce. The dishes are served in huge casserole plates and are supposed to be shared family style.
Our friendly server Nick has a bunch of recommendations for us to try which heavily center around all the meat on the menu. I have my hesitations about too much meat and fat as I have recently recovered from a bad stomach (refer to my Nota Bene review) but am swayed by present company.
My friend Aaron (another passionate foodie) and Andrew (who had worked all day and hadn't eaten) - decide on the following as appetizers- the elk sliders as well as the charchuterie board.
There are 3 perfectly medium rare elk sliders that come on challah bread served with home-made pickles and some sweet terriyaki type of sauce. Usually elk is a little gamey but these sliders taste just like savory burgers and we're very delicious. The charchuterie board came with racette of pork, rabbit terrine, challah and corned beef with home made dijon, grainy mustard and more crunchy home made pickles. I love that as one of my nicknames on my ultimate frisbee team is 'pickles'.
The raclette of pork tastes to me like chicken salad and looks like it as well- it wasn't very different. The terrine was the perfect amount of flavour with the same consistency of pate which i love. I wished more than 2 slices of corned beef were offered so we had to be better at sharing the portions on the board.
For our mains - we decide to indulge in more beef and order the 'cote de boeuf' for 2 which is the most expensive thing on the menu. This comes with a huge prime rib and about 16 slices of perfectly rare to medium rare beef served in a casserole plate. It is very impressive and so delicious with it's flavourful jus. We also order the sticky ribs which are also huge and sticky and sweet as well as tender melt off the bone type of ribs. I was very happy with these options but slowing going into a meat coma. We had heaping sides that accompanied our meals as well with the huge portion of French fries avec mayo that were delicious and salty and would be a late night snack to come in for... if only they could melt cheese curds and pour the jus of the boeuf- i think I may have found another poutine place but a girl can dream as this is definitely not an option. We also had our helpings of greens with bok choy and beans.
I won't rest until I mention a couple of things:
the gorgeous sommelier has a focus on Italian wines, most of which i had never heard of and we had a peppery one to accompany our meal. Our gracious server Nick also works at another establishment and has 2 looks - one for his 'other' job and an Ossington suave look which has him in glasses to make him look more astute.
At the end of our meal- we indulged in everything and there were nothing left in our dishes.
Union Restaurant- 72 Ossington Street*** stars