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40 Dundas St. W.
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About
Secure yourself a table at this Ossington Strip charmer well in advance, because word's gotten out about the sweet miracle that is a sticky rib platter or an elk slider at this place. A small, quirky space with a lively vibe, Union 72 excels on a range of fronts. Its ambiance is warm, its back patio is splendidly tree-canopied, its staff is attentive, and its high-end, French-inspired menu is a constantly changing parade of predominantly meat-tastic delights. Potato-sprung sides - either frites with herbed salt and aioli or a kind of warm redskin potato salad with yogurt - arrive for the whole table to tuck into. A marbletop bar embraces the open kitchen, so diners can keep an eye on chef Teo Paul and his clever team as they prepare house-made pasta, terrine and cheese plates, and to-die-for charcuterie.
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Review: Go shared or go home

 
By Marie Nicola, reviewed on January 06, 2010

Amidst Ossington's sea of city favorites and recently opened, Chef Teo Paul opened his Union. The mixed ambiance of faded murals, an open kitchen and a marble topped bar is a part of Paul's life-drawn formula that seeks to establish his experiences as a statement on...

Amidst Ossington's sea of city favorites and recently opened, Chef Teo Paul opened his Union. The mixed ambiance of faded murals, an open kitchen and a marble topped bar is a part of Paul's life-drawn formula that seeks to establish his experiences as a statement on Toronto's dining scene. This is what happens when plucky French bistro meets Michael Stadtländer's culinary offspring; a welcoming atmosphere with an organic, locally sourced menu.

Since opening in July 2009, Torontonians have flocked to 72 Ossington; not yet a year later and it is still near impossible to grab a seat at 6pm on a Wednesday night without a reservation. With that said the horse-shoe bar isn't an unappealing place to eat a meal for those who are unable to grab a seat on the interior, it may even come with unprecedented access to Union's conversational sommelier, Christopher Sealy.

The menu is modest and intentionally vague in parts. Understandably, when Paul aims to have a seasonal menu to showcase the best of local fare, names like "Roast Bird" and "Fresh Fish" are as specific as it gets. Worth mentioning, Union makes a noble contribution to the charcuterie in the city, with a hearty and homey plate of sensational house made pâté and smoked meats made to share.

The Union Salad is a mix of greens with a crisp potato rosti thrown in for kicks - honestly, it's a salad, congratulations to Mother Nature for raising her greens right. The Steak Tartar, spooned atop crunchy crostini, was a finely chopped blend of fresh steak and citrusy flavours - although, we were promised it came with bone marrow, it did not, sadly, make it to the table.

When it came to the mains, they weren't as successful as the starters. Irregular seasoning plagued almost every dish my party ordered - almost. The lake trout was clearly fresh, flaked finely and was a quality piece of fish but lacked flavour. The shrimp and pork, open-faced, burger was, as Torontonians say, "meh". The polenta was as reliable as any properly prepared polenta should be while the "Roast Bird" hit the "nail on the head" without any seasoning flaws!

Succulent and moist, bursting with flavour, the roasted chicken asserted everything what Teo Paul is trying to do with Union, elevating traditional preparations to the consciousness of its patrons. Côte de boeuf is prepared for two and side dishes arrive in casseroles to pass amongst friends - this is the Ontario country dinner in a bistro setting. So, like the charcuterie plate, when going to Union the rule is: go homey, go shared or go home.

UNION

Price: Mid-high; prices are slightly higher for the locally sourced ingredients; 3-course dinner for two, with tax and tip, around $125
Atmosphere: Country bistro meets booming Ossington Ave; affluent clientele
Hint: Go shared! Bird and beef are your best bets, ask your server for the best strategy for your party.
Wine & Spirits: Decent wine program. Sommelier (or resident "Wine Guy") Christopher Sealy is normally on hand to advise.
Reservations: YES! The only way you'll score a seat.
Wheelchair accessible: No
Surprise Surprise: Charcuterie plate is mostly pâtés, awesome, delicious homemade pâtés made in a way that only a man who spent time in France could do.

Reviews are meant to describe a dining out experience at a given period in time and are the personal opinion of the writer.
All meals are paid for, including all taxes and gratuities. All reservations are made under assumed names. Menu items, prices and individuals mentioned in this review may not be up to date. Dine.TO encourages its users to share their feedback.

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