VegasEats: Union at Aria

Where you can be Bobby and Billy for a night!

Posted by JohnH

Union Restaurant ARIA Review

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.

Union Restaurant ARIA Review Tomato Soup

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.

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Comments & Discussion

To an extent I must agree with this.

Union is high quality and very good. But it isn't "Oh my god! Yes! YES! YES! MORE! HARDER! FASTER!"

I concede, I cut my gourmet teeth in Hong Kong so I am very, very jaded. Additionally, I should add that for me to consider Union "very good" is by itself a compliment.

It is indeed very good. It isn't astronomical however. That shouldn't detract from the fact it is very enjoyable. It just isn't a religious experience.

Reviewing Union is difficult because it is hard to make "very good but not orgasmic" sound like a measured compliment rather than an insult. One thumb up might be less than two thumbs up, but it is by no means zero thumbs up or thumbs down.

I will make one unreserved recommendation; Union's Truffle Hollondaise. Oh. My. God. Truffle. Hollondaise.

Still, it is fair to say that Union is a very good restaurant. Not amazing. Not game-changing. Just a very good restaurant.

And that's a good thing. Really.

I would certainly hope they pour a strong drink for $16!

On the Aria scale, good and very good really come close to spectacular. An awkward interchange or two with the staff seems like a real step up from the oblivious isolation Chuck has previously reported.

Aside from the fantastic specialty drinks at Fix, none of the Light dining venues are particularly good. Each have the same wood beam decor, cloyingly loud atmosphere, and booming bass soundtrack which to me are quite off-putting. In particular, I would say Union has the worst designed bar of all the Light properties.

Union was briefly considered for dinner Thursday night of my trip in June. It was axed prior to the trip, as their dress code would not allow folks in shorts and button down shirts. Oh well, the group took their business to Todd English P.U.B. instead.

The first time I ate here I also had the Organic chicken. Although decent it was not memorable however the Brussels Sprouts I ordered as a side were delicious! I do however like being able to get a very nice meal in a very relaxed atmosphere adjacent to the Casino floor. It's nice having that caliber of food without feeling the need to go back to the room to get dressed up. It by no means even comes close to the chicken at Stripsteak who wins hands down for possibly the best 1/2 chicken ever.

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