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Union Bar and Grille

1357 Washington St.

617-423-0555

On the recommendation of a friend, I ventured to Union Bar and Grille for a good meal on a pleasant, late spring morning. Placing our reservation for 11 a.m., my girlfriend and I trekked to the trendy restaurant in South End. I immediately noticed that with my polo shirt tucked into khaki slacks, I had overdressed: All around me, hipsters were wearing tight-fitting t-shirts or wife beaters with skinny jeans.

Union’s main draw is its $9.95 brunch menu. The offering included scrumptious coffee cake, an entree, as well as choice of orange or grapefruit juice, and tea or coffee.

Not really looking for a tart drink, I opted for an orange juice, which had an appealing, fresh-squeezed sweet taste and pulpy texture. The coffee cake, composed of cinnamon and sour cream, was sweet but not overpowering — a nice juxtaposition to the entree.

I ordered the Chef’s Special Omelette, comprised of eggs, sausage, ricotta, and spinach and accompanied by home fries and toast. The eggs were expertly done, light and fluffy. The spinach and sauage were fresh, although I was saddened by the paltry amount of meat in the omelette.

The homefries were warm and chunky when they were served, garnished with parsley and pepper. The meal clearly was not roadside diner fare, as neither greasiness nor heaviness accompanied the bites. At the end, I was surprisingly full; of course, I tried some of my girlfriend’s Smoked Salmon Scramble, which had tremendous flavor, blending cured salmon, crème fraiche, and scallions. If you love salmon, it is a must-try.

The presentation of the table and the overall ambiance of the restaurant definitely enhanced the experience. The speakers played lively jazz, while passing conversations buzzed the air throughout the meal. The waiter was friendly and helpful with our choices and brunch needs. All in all, it was a great brunch experience combining appealing tastes, friendly service, and a vibrant aura.