Review: Union Local 613

Union 613

315 Somerset St W, Ottawa

Visited: August 07, 2012

Final vote: Definitely coming back!


I can’t even tell you how much I loved this place! We were initially seated at high two-person table, but asked to be moved to the community ones. I love community tables, and I’m excited to see the trend move into Ottawa. We were promptly waited on, and my wife ordered the cilantro, cucumber and mint soda. After trying hers I ordered one for myself! Delicious, light and refreshing.

We skipped appetizers, but the waiter was really sweet and explained a few things on the menu that we didn’t understand. We ordered the fried yard bird and three sides: cornbread with burbon brown butter, cheese and garlic grits and shrimp boil macaroni salad.

It was all delicious! The yardbird (chicken) portion was too big for two people (we’d ordered the four piece), the two of us could have eaten the 2pc and been satisfied. The cornbread batter was crispy but not overly greasy. The real stars of the meal were the sides though. The cornbread was cooked in a mini cast iron skillet (the only real way to cook southern cornbread is in a cast iron skillet, it’s fantastic) and the brown butter was delicious on top. The grits were basically a cheese and garlic vehicle, but it was so good I didn’t even care. The macaroni salad was a great contrast, and really well done also. It all came served on a big baking sheet, for me and my wife to share. Very casually presented, but cute too!

We really wanted to try the desserts, so we ordered two. We tried a buttermilk and lavender pie, with macerated strawberries. It was sweet and tangy, the crust was flaky and crispy. Really amazing dish.

The second dessert was a lime cheesecake parfait, and it was really disappointing. It was very warm, and when I took my first bite I was shocked. It was bitter, and the texture was very strange. It basically tasted like a bitter melted cheesecake. There was honey drizzled on top, but it didn’t get down far enough and without the sweetness to cut it, the lime just made the cheesecake taste tangy, and it was overall a horrible combination. I’ll eat almost anything, but we couldn’t even touch this. I’m aware it’s an odd dish (it comes served with a jalepeno chip and corn nut topping) but despite that I still wasn’t expecting exactly how weird it was.

But! We set it aside and when our waiter came back he inquired why we hadn’t eaten it. We told him we hadn’t liked it, and that maybe it needed some more sweetness. He told us he’d let the kitchen know, which is exactly what I want to hear when I don’t enjoy a dish. Great service on that.

And then they went one step further, and when we were presented with our bill, our waiter told us he’d taken the dessert off. Amazing, awesome service, and definitely enough to have me singing praises for this place.

The atmosphere was cozy and warm, friendly and intimate. The food was fantastic, well executed and well presented, not to mention delicious and filling. The service was friendly, quick, efficient and above and beyond.

All in all, this place is awesome, and I’d recommend it to anyone. (Especially if George is your waiter!)

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