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Union Square Cafe CookbookOrder "The Union Square Cafe Cookbook" today!

by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano

When I first reviewed this cook book upon its release in 1994 I just knew it was a cooks' treasure but I didn't expect to be still referring to it and using many of the wonderful recipes from it in 2007.  The Union Square Cafe Cookbook was also awarded the Julia Child Cook Book Award for "First Cookbook" in 1994 and I can remember being present at the Awards Dinner and feeling a great sense of personal wisdom in having selected this cook book to review in my newsletter which was in hardcopy form at that time.

The restaurant has just celebrated it's 15th year this past October.  So not only does the cook book continue to delight me, but knowing that a restaurant of this quality has maintained it's standing for so many years in a tough restaurant city like New York proves to me that their excellence well established.

Regulars of the Union Square Cafe will recognize recipes for signature dishes such as Fried Calamari with Spicy Anchovy Mayonnaise, Hot Garlic Potato Chips or Grilled Marinated Filet Mignon of Tuna. The chapter on Vegetables, Side Dishes and Condiments has recipes for such innovative accompaniments as Spicy Asian Slaw and Roasted Tomato Mashed Potatoes. There are several other versions of mashed potato recipes in this chapter and I can only surmise that it was Union Square Cafe that started the love affair with mashed potatoes that has since been seen on many other restaurant menus since 1994.

I have so many favorite recipes from this book -- the Pan Roasted Salmon with Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette (page 146) is such at hit at dinner parties that everyone wants the recipe - so I tell them to buy their own Union Square Cafe Cookbook!  And there is nothing more comforting in this season than making Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Herbs (page 200) The long slow cooking of this braised dish yields a tender fall-off-the-bone succulent lamb with the married flavors of garlic, rosemary, mint, thyme and white wine. Yum.

If you've ever dined at the bar, or just enjoyed a drink made by some of New York's best bartenders, you might have enjoyed nibbling on Bar Nuts (page 8)  These are not the red-skinned bar nuts serves in some bars along with a glass of beer! These Union Square Bar Nuts are so delicious they should be packaged and sold for those who don't want to wait to make them -- but the recipe is so easy I can't imagine even non-cooks not wanting to make them.  The recipe follows:

Union Square Bar Nuts

pound EACH   

peeled peanuts, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and whole unpeeled almonds

2 Tablespoons   

coarsely chopped fresh rosemary



2 teaspoons   

dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons   

kosher salt

1 Tablespoon   

melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven until they become light golden brown, about 10 minutes

3.  In the large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, salt and melted butter.  Thoroughly toss the warm toasted nuts with the spiced butter mixture and serve warm.

Yield: about 5 cups

For a copy of this extraordinary cook book, you can click on the icon at the beginning of this review to purchase directly from  Or if you'd prefer an autographed copy signed by both Danny Meyer and Michael Romano, visit the Union Square Cafe restaurant at 21 East 16th Street, New York, NY




AICR Health Talk  From the AICR Test Kitchen  Cookbooks  Artist/Chef