Welcome to NYC. You’re here on your first day of your new internship and what better way to get a flavor of this amazing city but by literally going out and tasting it! For your first lunch, you’re probably going to want a variety of foods in a cool neighborhood: Union Fare is exactly what you need.
I took a friend here for a casual lunch. At night, the space turns into a restaurant too, but during the day there are different “booths,” organized by cuisine, where you can order your food and then grab a table to chomp down or take your food to go. Basically like a school cafeteria, but better. The options range from pizzas, to poke bowls, to pastries. There’s even a “toast” section for all you avo-toast lovers.
We were drawn towards a poke bowl and a sh*t ton of pastries. The bakery corner was irresistible. A piece of advice: if you’re on a diet, keep looking straight ahead until you make it pass the croissant display, because once you see it, there’s no turning back.
We tried “The Wipeout” tuna poke. It was a little spicy, so if you’re not into that maybe go for a different sauce (ours was a spicy mayo). It was good, but I can’t say I felt like I was in Hawaii (the hometown of poke if you didn’t know). I have had better poke bowls in New York.
Now for the bakery. They have a large variety of flavored croissants and my friend and I had to go through some tough decision-making. We ended up getting the birthday cake, matcha, and red velvet (which we picked with some guidance from the very helpful staff.) Besides for being Insta-worthy, these croissants were pretty damn delicious. They were super crispy and flaky on the outsides, but soft and buttery around the insides. The fillings were also on point.
The birthday cake (definitely the most photogenic of them all) almost tasted like a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts, but I mean that in the best way. I’m usually not into cake-flavored things that aren’t cake, but I really enjoyed this.
The red velvet was interesting. It had a cream cheese filling (which I loved) and was drizzled with mocha icing. Sounds weird, but it actually went really well with the red velvetiness of the croissant. It wasn’t my favorite, but hats off to the people who put that combo together and made it work. The matcha was my favorite and not just because I am a matcha maniac, but because it was the most subtly flavored one, which made it still feel like I was eating a croissant.
Anyways, they were all great and worth the trip from the Upper East Side to Union Square Park in the rain.
Although the Union Fare bakery is most well known for their croissants, we also tried some cookies. The staff was raving about the chocolate chip cookie, so we knew we had to try that. When a man standing next to us was picking up a ton of the matcha cookies to bring back to his office because they were “the best cookies he’s ever had,” we knew we also had to try that. The chocolate chip cookie was delicious. It had the texture and consistency of a cookie fresh out of the oven even though it wasn’t fresh at the time we were eating it. The matcha one was not all we expected it to be. That man definitely played it up to be something it was not. It wasn’t bad, but just not anything too special.
We were very satisfied with our meal here and would definitely recommend it. It’s perfect for picking up a casual lunch with a picky group because there is so much variety. Your vegan friend can get a salad, your friend obsessed with Mexican food can get their share of tacos, your basic friend can get their avocado toast and you can be happy with something too! But whatever you do, DO NOT go to Union Fare and leave without trying those croissants.
7 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003
www.unionfare.com, (212) 633-6003
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