Newsletter Sign Up

Daily News says Union has “best restaurant dish”

June 17, 2015

Summer is here and you haven’t seen an excited chef until you’ve seen them at market in summer. Everything is in season, the fruit varieties are abundant and the food is big in flavor. The Daily News is highlighting great summer eats and Union is on their list. Come out to Pasadena and let us serve you a memorable summer meal. / Please enjoy the full feature at this link or read what they had to say about Union below.

Summer 2015: Best restaurant dishes to eat this season

By Merrill Shindler, Daily News POSTED: 06/16/15, 1:29 PM PDT
While summer means fitting into that itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini, it’s also a great time to gather with friends to enjoy meals that incorporate the refreshing fruits and vegetables that grow under the warm sun.
For restaurateur Richard Drapkin, who’s opening a restaurant in the South Bay called Manhattan House, “it’s particularly a good time to enjoy “the taste of food cooked over wood.”
“Summer means open air grilling, it means outdoor dining, outdoor cuisine,” adds Drapkin.
It’s also high season for fresh wild king salmon, with the majority of wild salmon is harvested in June and July, and just about any grilled meat with a side of crisp salad.
Local farmer’s market — which grow faster in number than the crops they carry — offer the very best summer produce. I always know it’s summer because the plum and apricot hybrids begin to appear, in ever increasing numbers and peculiarities.
Tastebuds can be immersed in the wonderful world of pluots and apriums, some zebra-striped, some looking small watermelons, in every color and every flavor.
For Chef Bruce Kalman of Union Restaurant in Old Pasadena, it’s peak season for one of his favorite crops.
“Summer means heirloom tomatoes — absolutely the best tomatoes ever,” said Chef Bruce Kalman of Union Restaurant in Old Pasadena.
Here in Southern California, where summer is all about the freshness of the ingredients, we don’t emerge from a wintry cocoon like the rest of the country.
We change from our winter T-shirts, to our summer T-shirts. The days are longer, life is even more leisurely, and the urge to enjoy the warm summer air is hard to resist. We move from red wine to white wine.
Our cocktails are fruitier, lighter. And so is our food, though lightness does not diminish flavor. Indeed, it makes it stand out — in a summer sort of way.
Goat Cheese and Broccoli Quiche: In the midst of one of the most meat-intensive restaurants in America, this dish is casual, light and bright, perfect for brunch in the hills.
Served with asparagus salad, aged balsamic and Castelvetrano olives.
Saddle Peak Lodge, 419 Cold Canyon Road, Calabasas, 818-222-3888.
Curried Chicken Salad: Summer is salad time, and the curried chicken salad at Bistro Garden, made with mango and avocado, is a flavor explosion — and a chance to eat in a garden, just right this time of year.
Bistro Garden at Coldwater, 12950 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. 818-501-0202.
Chilean Sea Bass: It’s a sublime summer fish, perfectly cooked in a steakhouse setting, sautéed and braised in a light, southwest style broth, with wilted greens, crisp potatoes and chile-cilantro oil.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 6373 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, 818-346-1005.
Spaghetti alla Chitarra: Made with freshly picked San Marzano tomatoes and Fresno chiles, this is a reminder that pasta doesn’t have to be heavy.
Union, 37 E. Union St., Old Pasadena, 626-795-584.

Composed Heirloom Beet Salad: Tomatoes aren’t the only heirloom vegetable on the market. This salad, also made with crumbled Farmstead goat cheese and crispy baby artichokes, can be happily consumed on one of Bistro 45’s several outdoor patios.
Bistro 45, 45 S. Mentor Ave., Pasadena, 626-795-2478.
Seta Roll: A perfect summer combination of spicy tuna, jalapeno, yellowtail, avocado, lemon rind, chili and ponzu. The trick is not to eat too many, which is not easy.
Seta, 13033 Philadelphia St., Whittier, 562-698-3355.
Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance dining critic. Reach him at
(photo by ChileJam)