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Continued: Union: A change for the better

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 16, 2014 - 1:07 PM

The menu’s token non-seafood items — chicken, pork, beef two ways — are uneven at best, and none live up to their aquatic counterparts. There’s also the occasional sticker shock. I’ll miss the jaunty portable show-and-tell cart, wheeled tableside and heaped with raw oysters, poached lobster and steamed crab, all sold by the piece, and all intrinsically appealing. Its basic menu remains, but the actual cart proved difficult to navigate in the dining room.

While the setting lacks Crave’s patented visual hoopla — actually, almost nothing about Union Fish Market bears so much as a whiff of its formulaic corporate cousin — the generic brown-on-brown space still feels as if Kaskaid devoted the vast majority of its budget on the roof, leaving the austere first floor to a halfhearted once-over.

Frame the conversation this way: Does a diamond ring belong in a box lined with cardboard, or velvet? Almendinger’s exciting, nuanced work deserves — correction, demands — a more suitable platform.

Follow Rick Nelson on Twitter: @RickNelsonStrib





 

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  • Chef Lucas Almendinger in the restaurant’s dining room.

  • Union Fish Market ⋆⋆⋆1/2

    www.unionfishmpls.com 612-455-6690

    Location: 731 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.

    Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Tue.-Sat. Happy hour 2 to 6 p.m. daily.

    Service: Well-versed and aims to please.

    Price ranges: Small plates $7-$18, side dishes $5-$7, entrees $19-$38, desserts $9.

    Recommended dishes: Clam chowder, sturgeon rillettes, shrimp corn dogs, clams in chorizo broth, lobster butternut bisque, skate, scallops with beets, cioppino, fish and chips, baked Alaska.

    Bar program: Wines cover the bases, at upper-medium prices, with 23 by-the-glass options (average price: $9). Twenty-plus beers tapped from mostly Midwest sources. Long list of labor-intensive cocktails.

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