VegasEats: Union at Aria
Where you can be Bobby and Billy for a night!
We had to eat. Well, I take that back. I had to eat. Chuckmonster had already engaged in his spectacular dining experience at Aria's renowned Café Vettro (SARCASM), but I had yet to eat and we had precious few hours before this duo had to head up to the Blackjacker1979's SkySuite for a little shin-dig featuring guest appearances by Five Hundy, the Admiral, and various other special guests. Martin and Lewis needed to eat. Thus, for no reason other than the fact that I wanted to give the place a try, we walked on over to the collection of Martian wood forms that is called Union.
Walking up to the host podium, Chuck and I were greeted warmly and told that our table for two would be available shortly. After a few minutes and a few awkward jokes between Mr. Monster and the main hostess about getting Bobby Baldwin and Bill McBeath's table - apparently the thing is reserved on a near constant twenty-four hour basis for the two casino executives - we were told that our table was ready and were quickly escorted to the rear of the restaurant.
Now, I could take time to fill you in on the restaurant's general atmosphere and design, but suffice it to say that if you've dined at either Fix or Stack, you've got a pretty good idea of the general vibe that the folks at Light Group have cooked up for their third minimally-syllabic postmodern steakhouse. The place is dark, sexy, and filled with thumping bass music. It's like a nightclub, but with food and fewer douchebags. There are still douchebags, just fewer than you'll find at Haze on any given night.
Now let's move on to the food. I decided I wanted to start by trying the restaurant's roasted tomato soup and then chose their organic chicken as an entrée. Chuck, having somehow developed an appetite after his more-than-filling (SARCASM) shrimp cocktail and BLT at Vettro, settled on a small dish of oysters that were to come out with my chicken. With all of those orders in place, a "Chairman" in Chuck's hand, and a Gin and Tonic in mine, the meal began.
First to arrive was the tomato soup sitting in a small Le Creuset pot, which was then poured into a small bowl filled with a mixture of goat cheese and basil leaf. A few crust-less triangles of grilled cheese sandwiches - Just like mom used to make! - were served on the side. Verdict? Delicious, but not orgasmic. Allow me to put it this way: Anthony Bourdain once said, in relation to French fries at Thomas Keller's Bouchon, that the act of eating a comfort classic has to evoke memories of one's childhood in order for the dish to be considered a wild success. The tomato soup was a perfect example of a dish failing to meet that standard. While certainly delicious, it just didn't come close to making me feel like I was sitting in the cozy confines of a Campbell's soup commercial.