Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.
Review by CBS4Indy.com contributor Dustin Heller
Our food adventure this week takes us back to the Mass Ave area, to one of the trendiest places in all of Indy. Union 50 is located just off Mass Ave at 620 East St in the old masonry union hall. As you might have guessed, the restaurant got its name from the building in which it resides, which happened to be built in 1950. To this day, “Masonry Union” is stamped in concrete just above the patio entryway. Union 50 is another one of the stellar restaurants from the Cunningham Restaurant Group. Seems like everything they touch turns to gold. Case in point, Union 50 was included in “OpenTable’s list of the 100 hottest restaurants” for both 2015 and 2016, no other restaurant in Indy can claim that honor.
The interior of the restaurant is undoubtedly one of the coolest in the entire city; the open dining area is highlighted with a gorgeous bar area and small stage for live music just off to the side. Really, who doesn’t love live music during dinner? The dim lighting along with the modern décor really sets the mood for a great evening out. Seeing is believing when it comes to the beauty of this place.
Let’s now move on to the good stuff, the food! Executive Chef Adan Sandoval oversees the kitchen and he’s pumping out some really great culinary creations. The menu at Union 50 rotates seasonally and they’re just about ready to launch a new menu any time now. Better hurry in if there was something you still needed to try from the current menu. The menu is very creative and somewhat adventurous, which is perfect for all you foodies out there. Before getting into my “can’t miss” choices, I wanted to note that Union 50 has a daily special that I would probably deem as “can’t miss” even without knowing what it is. Essentially, there is no reason to not eat there every day! Speaking of “can’t miss”…
1. Duck, Duck…I’m making the assumption that all my readers out there are true foodies and step outside of their comfort zone when dining at a culinary institution like Union 50. That said, the seared duck breast cannot be missed! Its mild flavor is delectable and it’s served with a parsnip puree, duck leg confit, asparagus, hickory roasted turnip, blackberry and spiced jus. A foodie’s dream dish!
2. Medjool Dates…please take my word for it and make sure you order this at your next visit. You have my personal guarantee that you will not be disappointed. These dates are stuffed with tequila spiked chorizo and wrapped in bacon. Are you kidding me!
3. Toast + Jam…don’t be fooled by the name, because this isn’t your mamma’s toast (that is unless your mamma was Julia Child). Probably the only similarity is that they both use bread. The Union 50 version consists of Wild Gulf Shrimp Toast covered with Sushi Grade Ahi Jam and Yuzu Tobiko. If that wasn’t enough, its served with Marinated and Compressed Cucumber that is downright refreshing.
4. Boards…as in the charcuterie and cheese variety. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a fanboy of the charcuterie. Is there a more perfect combination than meat and cheese? I think not! Union 50 has a magnificent eleven meats and ten cheeses to choose from…good luck with that decision. Why not just order the Grand Board and let the chef do all the work for you.
Bonus. Pain Perdu…I normally don’t include desserts on my can’t miss items list because I’m so excited about the food, but I’d be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t mention the pain perdu. Paid Perdu is simply the French term for French Toast, but instead of syrup, this is topped with Bananas Foster Gelato, Vanilla Cream Candied Walnuts, and Smoked Cherries. Magnifique!
Although I only listed five items above, I feel confident in recommending anything from this menu. It really speaks to the quality of a restaurant when each and every dish is unique and special, but remarkably delicious at the same time. Foodie friends, I’m here to tell you that Union 50 is the real deal.
Tell Dustin your thoughts about Union 50. You can follow him on Instagram @eatindywatchindie.
Check out more restaurants featured in our Foodie Spotlight section.