Union League Cafe, New Haven, CT

When I’m in a fancy restaurant I’m often torn. The experience of a fancy dining venue alone is worthy of a blog post, but such an experience doesn’t usually lend itself to pulling out a cell phone to capture the night in pictures.

The lighting where we sat in Union League Cafe seemed* perfect enough for me to be able to nonchalantly capture the beauty of each plate brought before me, so I made the decision to go for it.

*Keyword, as you will note from our entree photos.

I don’t know if it was the pictures. Or possibly the classically French environment. Or maybe even the newness of the area. But I found myself feeling like Melissa McCarthy in the movie Spy when she thinks a wet towel is a bread course.

No, seriously. We were given these tiny, bread puffs and I put one in my mouth and then thought to myself, then out loud to Lance, Wait, that was something I was supposed to eat, right?

I tried to pull myself together, but then I started laughing, which didn’t help when compared to the utterly boring mature conversations being held at the tables around us.

From that point, I managed to maintain composure and eat like a normal person, but if the start was any indicator to how the night might continue, Lance should have been a little worried.

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I’ve considered scallops to be the filet mignon of the sea ever since Lance first introduced me to them back three hundred years ago when we were dating.

We split a small plate of ‘Saint-Jacques Au Riesling’ (seared New England sea scallops, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, bacon crumble, and Riesling buerre blanc) which the waiter kindly had arranged on separate plates so we could both be presented with the glorious plate of deliciousness you see pictured above.

Sometimes all the adornment can over complicate a dish, making me ignore it completely. Not with this dish. I scooped up every last edible bit on the plate.

It was divine.

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I was inexplicably starving*, which meant I was in no mood to be exploratory in my entree choice. I went with a classic: Filet de boeuf grillé Béarnaise: grass fed beef tenderloin, potato Pont-Neuf, French green beans, Béarnaise sauce. I’m a sucker for beef and Béarnaise (not pictured) and it isn’t every day I eat beef filet.** The meat was cooked with such perfection I only used a small amount of the sauce.

*All right, let’s be real, when am I not?

**Good lord, that stuff is expensive!!

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Since I went safe, Lance played his meal risky and ordered: Canard roti, chous farci*: Roast Peking duck, stuffed savoy cabbage, parsnip puree, turnip, duck and foie gras sauce.

*No, he did not attempt to say the fancy French title. He merely ordered ‘the Peking duck’.

While his duck and the sauce were both delicious, I was more impressed with the stuffed savoy cabbage. I’ve never knowingly eaten stuffed cabbage in my life, and found the flavors of this savory round exquisite.

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For dessert, I knew before entering the restaurant I wanted to try their profiteroles (cream puffs). Having recently worked on the perfect cream puff, I needed to try theirs for comparison. I was delighted to discover not only a sweet dessert, but that my puff was right on their level. They stuffed their puffs with some extraordinary ice cream, which, of course, now makes me want to step up my ice cream game.

Union League Cafe
1032 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT 06510

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