Among the restaurants that represent a pinnacle of the haute dining experience, master gastronome Danny Meyer's Union Square Café would be one of the top five in New York. Though the three rooms look as if they were designed by some refugee from a rustic hunting club—with green wainscoting, deep wood floors, ivory colored walls and warm mahogany accents—the entire space hums with the energy commensurate with a power player's palace. The restaurant embodies the philosophy of taking familiar fare, and ratcheting it up to a delicious refinement so that it is both easy to appreciate, yet memorable as well.
Chef Michael Romano's seasonal menu draws on the local greenmarket to create ultra-fresh dishes that become instant classics. He devises uncommon combinations such as wasabi mashed potatoes, uniquely sauced pastas and courses that even vegetarians will find not only filling but more flavorful than ever. And the meats, like a succulent, crispy lemon-pepper duck, are no less worthy. As for a closer, the banana tart with honey-vanilla ice cream will make you a convert. A beautiful, well-selected and award-winning wine list. The bar is a great place to lunch solo--and there is a full range of appropriate alcoholic accompaniment.