A First Taste of Union Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp

May 15, 2014

Before the restaurant opened its doors last Friday, May 9, SanDiegoVille founders were some of the lucky few granted a first taste of a variety of Executive Chef Sean Langlais' menu offerings at the gleaming new Union Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp. The former Donovan's Prime Seafood space received a beautiful redesign to transform the location into a hip, modern-industrial dining and nightlife destination right in the heart of San Diego's downtown district.

Union Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp has an impressive interior design using reclaimed wood and modern furnishings to bring its Americana concept to life, along with garage-style doors that open up to a generous open-air patio on bustling 5th Avenue. The food is inventive American cuisine featuring a product driven menu that reflects a repertoire of new and traditional cooking methods and dishes using ingredients available from land and sea. A craft cocktail program and focus on local brews rounds out a solid menu with plenty of options for all dietary preferences.
We began with an order of crispy calamari rings and tentacles served with pickled peppers, sided by a sweet and deliciously tomato jam and a spicy creole remoulade for dipping. We loved that both sweet and spicy dipping options were provided to compliment the perfectly fried squid.
A duo of salads then came to our table. The Caesar was a successful take on a Tijuana classic, mixing romaine, an herb crouton and fresh shaved Parmesan cheese with a spot-on dressing.
The local green salad included fresh lettuces with candied smoked almonds, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and honey red wine vinaigrette, crowned by a panko fried egg.
For our entrees, first we received the fisherman's stew, a bowl of shrimp, scallop, mussels, clam, calamari and cod in a spicy tomato broth with an herb-oil-drizzled piece of toast for dredging - an ideal order for the seafood lover.
The "Mary's" duck was truly the highlight of the evening, as the confit duck leg comes over a fantastically flavorful mushroom and shallot ragout with a boursin stuffed fried squash blossom, making for an elevated and comforting plate.
We ended our meal with a sweet and tart strawberry rhubarb cobbler, served in a mini-crock and topped with vanilla bean ice cream.

Union Kitchen & Tap has brought their modern yet rustic eatery down from the beach town of Encinitas to San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. With cuisine made from scratch, craft beers, signature cocktails, room for private parties, frequent live music and an unrivaled stylish and comfortable ambiance, downtown didn't know what it had been missing. Union Kitchen & Tap Gaslamp will undoubtedly thrive in its new location.

Union Kitchen & Tap is located at 333 5th Avenue. For more information, visit gaslampunion.com.

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