Friday, April 15, 2011

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, and Sometimes... Dammit Giada!

Union Square Café  – Bar Nuts
Union Square Cafe

4:45pm.

That’s the time Giada De Laurentiis said the Union Square Cafe bar nuts come out of the oven.

That’s the time Giada said to make sure you have a seat at the Union Square bar to obtain the warm, sultry bowl of goodness.

Giada lied.

Following our strict itinerary, we arrive at Union Square Café at exactly 4:20pm to procure a place at the bar and await said nuts.  By this point, we are also dying for a cocktail after a long afternoon of not drinking.  So it is perfect timing.

Or not.

First of all, the bar is packed.  Not jammed in a mishmosh of hipster annoyance like at Max Brenner (we are now above 14th Street, after all), but every stool is taken.  This circumstance results in our having to stake out claims to the first available seats that open up.  We are not above shoving.  We need those nuts.

After what seems like an eternity of 10 minutes, we manage to squeeze ourselves onto two newly vacated seats at the corner of the bar.  We order our wine, visions of salty, spicy cashews dancing in our heads.
The Image in Our Thought Bubbles
We sit at that bar for 20 minutes until the clock strikes 4:45pm, when we turn expectantly towards the kitchen doors and await the arrival of the best bar nuts in New York City.  The nuts that Giada chose above all other snacks in the SNACK ATTACK episode.

The nuts do not arrive.  Assuming there is some sort of pecan delay, we try to be patient.  5 minutes pass, then 10.  In the meantime, a group of French tourists has saddled up next to us at the bar.  They order their drinks and one asks the bartender, in the completely blasé tone that only a true French woman can pull off, for some bar nuts.

We watch this proceeding with glee, waiting for the cranky bartender to yell at these interlopers for their lack of knowledge about the bar nut policy.

Instead, we see the bartender reach underneath the bar.  We hear the faint tinkling of nuts hitting a bowl.  And a container of the infamous bar nuts appears before the French.

What???

Now, revealing ourselves as unaware tools, we ask the bartender for our own set of nuts, explaining our confusion at the 4:45pm timing that Giada had talked about on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.  His response?

“She misinformed a lot of people.”

Dammit Giada!

Any Time Nuts
But, all things considered, there is no real harm done.  We have our wine.  We have our nuts.  We dive into the bowl of assorted goodness.

They taste like nuts.

While they are evenly assorted and possess a hint of rosemary, overall, these are not that special of nuts.  Not crave-worthy nuts.  Certainly not The Best Nuts We Ever Ate.

To be fair, both of us have been to Union Square Café before, and the food is wonderful.  In fact, it is Vodka Stinger’s father’s favorite restaurant in all of New York.  We have also since met people who find Union Square’s bar nuts Food Network feature-worthy.

But give us a can of Planters peanuts, and we’ll be just as happy.

Union Square Café’s Bar Nuts: 2 stars

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