A Canadian take on Southern hospitality.

Weekend Brunch at Union: Local 613
Weekend Brunch at Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Dessert at Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Cocktails at Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Union: Local 613
Foods from Union: Local 613
Comments

2016 Mar 12
Because of this www.cbc.ca

I went for dinner here last night. As always, it was amazing. I had the matt murdock cocktail, which did almost make me blind, and the Hearthstone 2.0 which was deliciously warming.

For food, the fried chicken with the cornbread was delicious. The pepper vinegar had the right amount of tang and mouth tingling goodness. The skin was perfectly crispy, and the meat was well seasoned. Never felt greasy or heavy.

2015 Mar 13
Didn't get a picture as it was pretty dark but this was the best meal I've had in a long time. Had the deep fried octopus app with a lettuce wrap which was amazing. The umami was off the charts with sriracha mayo and pickled vegetables. For my main had the Miami style ribs, which were also amazing. Fingerling potatoes with oyster mushrooms was an excellent side. They also have an excellent and reasonably priced (starting at $7 a pint) craft beer menu. I was expecting similar service to El Camino based since it seemed like a hipster joint but was wrong. Excellent non-pretentious service and a great atmosphere.

2014 Feb 24
I was pretty excited to try this place. Moved out of the downtown area almost a year ago, and have missed a few of the newer, hotter spots to open recently.

It's a pretty cool space, and certainly can't fault the communal tables given the lack of space. Can fault their horrendously uncomfortable chairs. Couldn't wait to get out of mine at the end of the night.

I should say up front that every part of their menu, from drinks to desserts, is horrendously over-priced. Maybe it is, again, the limited space, but there's no value here.

Between $7 and $8 bucks for a beer in a mason jar (ugh) of indeterminate size. Can't say for sure it wasn't a proper pint, but I'm sceptical. The selection is decent enough though.

Chicken boudin to start. Decent crispy chicken balls. Most of the flavour comes from the spicy mayo.

Flank steak for main. Steak was good, if a bit chewier than I'd like. Unfortunely ruined by an unpleasant smoked mayo bed that gave everything an off-taste.

Rancho-style pinto beans are not very good. Watery and tomatoey, pretty dull.

Wife's catfish was alright, but not worth the price.

Four drinks, one starter, two mains, two sides for about $100. I don't get it. I know southern food is (or was) an it thing, but this just isn't very good, and the prices are way out of whack with the whole southern hospitality vibe they pride themselves on.

2014 Jan 4
Enjoyed a fine meal at Union Local 613 this evening. I would have photographed my dishes, but I don't have a smart phone (!)...

Firstly, we got to sit in the speakeasy downstairs -- via a secret door behind a faux bookshelf -- see photo...

My companion and I started with two appetizers: "cast iron duck hearts w/avocado, ancho sauce & chopped peanuts" and "deep fried chicken boudin, b&b pickles, creole mustard mayo"

The duck hearts were fairly meaty -- only my second time eating these, previously we'd tasted them at a Chinese restaurant, on skewers. Setting aside any squeamishness, we dug in. The accompanying condiments as listed above were FANTASTIC -- plate-lickingly so. The chicken boudin was good, but I thought the tart pickles outshone the boudin. Then again, I'm not much of a sausage person.

For our mains, my companion ordered "coffee cured hog jowl, honeycrisps, pickled beet, mint & benne, ginger-sorghum dressing" and I got the "ritz crusted louisianna catfish, pecan puree, wilted frisee & lemon." For sides, we got the skillet cornbread and the grits respectively.

On my plate, the fish was the star: piping hot, fresh-tasting with a crisp coating. I found the pecan puree a bit weird, and didn't think it really went with the rest of the plate. The frisee was perfect though, and very tart. My companion's jowl was very flavourful, amply and beautifully crusted. I happily dug into his beets as well, acidic, with some sesame seeds sprinkled on top. (That's what benne are, sesame seeds. Good to know, since our child is allergic to these.) I found my grits to be a bit too rich to finish. My companion obliged. The cornbread was moist (the large knob of butter topping it helped), salty and pleasantly "corn"-y.

Ours being a birthday celebration, we couldn't pass up dessert. I easily finished the "coconut-lime tart w/meringue & almond crust" while my companion had the "fried cherry & lavender pie." I love lemon-or-lime-curd-meringue-type desserts, and this one did not disappoint. Beneath the tart, on the vintage-looking tin or silver plate was a *very* fresh-tasting strawberry puddle. It was so satisfying to have the 4 flavours + textures in each bite: a perfect dessert. I was less of a fan of the pie, if only because I was loving my dessert so much.

Service was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. All that was missing from the speakeasy experience was a live pianist. But, considering the "piano" as actually a clever work of art, and not a working musical instrument, I'm not sure that's in the cards.

One little negative was the height of the bench I was sitting on. It's just too high. I'm of average height for a woman, but my legs dangled uncomfortably. Because the bench was concrete, there was no rung on which to rest my heels. I didn't really notice this at first, only as the meal progressed. I tried my companion's stool, which was also too tall, but had rungs -- next time, I'll opt for the stool, not the bench.

We'll be back. Keep up the good work, Union Local 613.

2014 Jan 1
Popped in for an early NYE dinner last night and was delighted. Cocktails included a classic Old Fashioned and a "Get the Lead Out" which was wheated bourbon and a plum/peppercorn/mint infused syrup. So good I had two. Special menu included an impressive appetizer of cobia sashimi with smoked tomatillos and tobiko. Pictured is the main which was a succulent Peking Duck, cooked sous vide and then finished to crisp up the skin. It was served with pickled plums and benne seed hoecakes. Absolutely the most tender duck I've ever experienced. Delicious! Chocolate cheesecake for two was the special NYE dessert. As usual the staff were exceptional, and all including the chef, stopped by to make sure we were having a nice evening. This was a great way to finish off 2013, and looking forward to many more visits this year.

2013 Aug 19
I've been wanting to visit and one day while walking down Somerset trying to decide where to eat, I came upon Union! (I had forgotten where it was).

So we ventured in. Love the atmosphere and decor, however the stools are not too comfy.

I had a wonderful raspberry bourbon lemonade.

We had the pig jowl and catfish. Catfish was very good, but my jowl was simply awesome and I have to say looked better than the picture below.

Can't wait to go back to try some new dishes and well, perhaps have some jowl again.

2013 Aug 19
Every good thing anyone has said about UNION 613 applies to my visit Satnite mid Aug 2013, but i had to post to note that the half-rack of ribs.
were.
AWE.
SOME.

...seriously if you enjoy dry rub style ribs you owe it to yourself to get there and eat these a lot before the menu shifts again. Meaty, super tasty, a little heat, a lot of flavour, little crisp on the outside... just pure ribby happiness.

And then there's the fried cherry and lavender pie with vanila bean ice cream and lemon sauce and crack cocaine that i wanted to eat again while i was still eating it.

Total win of a visit, my out of town guest was blown away.

I wouldn't mind if they upped the lights in the basement just a notch tho. Candles are all good but it's nice to be able to see the menu without lighting it on fire.

2013 Aug 18
Popped in without a reservation early Friday night and scored two seats at the bar. The cast iron duck heart with ancho and avocado was not something you see on a menu often, and that's why I ordered it. Intensely rich with a sweet and spicy flavour and fork tender texture, which was a pleasant surprise.

Mains were both crispy hog jowl(pictured) - succulent perfection! - with pickled and fresh watermelon. Creamy grits of course, always! And a second side of rainbow chard with rabbit.

Met another couple who had come from out of town just to have dinner here: They also had the hog jowl and were delighted.

Dessert was red velvet cake, nicely presented, rather than a slice of cake it was sort of a layered log of dense cake sectioned with a firm cream cheese frosting and walnuts. A nice take on red velvet and not as cloyingly sweet as some can be.

Cocktails and house made ginger beer were also terrific.

2013 Apr 26
Forgive me for chiming in but the shrimp and grits are plate licking good.

2013 Apr 1
I liked the idea of this place better than the reality: Agree that the decor and vibe are great, and the service was fine. Menu is nice and cohesive--some interesting items.

However: I had the worst seat in the house: Communal table in the rear, looking through a disused serving window into the shabby, starkly-lit, ill-ventilated kitchen. Cocktails were well-conceived and presented, but a bit watery and not cold enough. Their signature fried chicken was disappointing: Needed salt, and the batter was sort of gummy. Earlier in the week, I had actually had KFC for the first time in maybe 30 years, and I was thinking: The KFC was better: Well-seasoned, crispy skin.

Not rushing back...to Union, anyway. Might actually give KFC another go, though.


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2012 Sep 13
The cocktail list changes weekly and it consistently delivers inspiring implementations of classic and modern drinks.

Pictured here is the "Gin Auld Fashioned" from this week, involving Botanist gin, housemade Earl Grey syrup, orange blossom water, and Spanish bitters. It was so good that I went out and bought a bottle of Botanist gin soon after. Drinking here isn't just a pleasure -- it's an educational lifestyle enhancer! ;-)


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2012 Nov 2
Ottawa has a limited selection of dessert places, so Union: Local 613 fills an important niche with its late night service hours and excellent desserts.

Delizioso, I also had the fluffernutter dessert on my last visit but I was underwhelmed to the point of not even mentioning it in my comments here. It was clever to be sure, but no more pleasurable to my senses than an actual PBJ/fluffer sandwich would have been. Just thought I'd add a counter-opinion to the glowing ones here, for balance. :-)

I absolutely *loved* the cheesecake parfait here. Definitely one of the best desserts I've had anywhere.

2012 Nov 2
FLUFFERNUTTER!! Best thing, I've ever eaten. The food, drinks, and service were great as everyone else has mentioned but the dessert was the high point by far. I would go back and just order this dessert. I cannot say it enough, BEST DESSERT EVER....Maybe even best dish EVER!!!

Cardamom describes it accurately, so I won't repost the description. But it's a must try dish for sure.

2012 Sep 26
Pretzel shaped beignet with lime glaze, dark chocolate sauce, sea salt and chile bits. Suzie Q who?

I heart Union. Right now the plan is to order 3 of these next time around, one as an app, one as a main and one for dessert, naturally ;o)

2012 Sep 22
After previously stating that I'm not overly keen on the desserts here, it looks like I might have to change my tune. A girlfriend and I shared their new fluffernutter dessert last night (peanut butter mousse, marshmallow fluff, brioche french toast sticks and Concord grape jelly) and seriously went speechless after the first bite. It was so perfect. I haven't felt this way about a new dish around town since Art-is-in's fried pickle melt :) It just hits all the right notes and is delicious and inventive without being at all pretentious: salty/sweet, melting softness/crunchy peanut, comfort food goodness/pig-shaped jelly... you know, all the usual stuff you'd expect from a great dessert. Anyways, try this one. I need to go back to try their new peach and buttermilk tart.

Also, thanks FF for the gin old fashioned tip. That was one enjoyable drink. The Earl Grey simple syrup was a subtle twist that really worked. I had another great drink there a couple of weeks ago with ginger syrup and basil, but that one was on the sweeter side.




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Jun 30
Fried egg on fish cake with spinach salad and home fries.

2015 Feb 6
butwhoami, their hours are on the website (click Brunch and scroll to the bottom) -- weekends only. As I said, no lineups yet. We called ten minutes before and they told us to just come on in!

2015 Feb 6
That looks so good, need to try it-- do you know what time it's served from/until? Easy/hard to get a seat? And only Saturday and Sunday?

2015 Jan 29
The kids were at simultaneous play dates last Saturday, so wifey and I jumped at the chance to try the new brunch at Union.

Union still has all its charm! Awesome staff, excellent food, reasonable prices, and chairs that keep you shifting so your butt doesn't go numb.

I had the "fried chicken and waffle, sandwich, sunny-side egg, pickled green tomato, spicy maple syrup, iceberg, homefries". This was very well executed and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Not really a sandwich in any sense but loaded with homefries (hidden in the background of the pic). A steal at $13, especially compared to other offerings around town.

My wife enjoyed her smoked pork back ribs with scrambled eggs. Her orange spiked sparkling wine cocktail was good too -- true to the dry bubbly, with just a hint of orange. The comically flat mason jar in which it was served was the ultimate antiestablishmentarian champagne flute.

The brewed coffee was good. Don't expect any hoity-toity lattes or cappuccinos here. Our server's eyes were rock solid when I asked, but I swear they were rolling on the inside.

Other plates going by looked great. Worth checking out on a weekend if you like brunchy things. No lineups yet!