Vibe Rater: Union Square Cafe, 21 East 16th Street

We found ourselves, by accident (long short story), eating lunch on Wednesday at Union Square Cafe. That, in itself, wouldn’t be noteworthy, but it happened to be the day that the Zagat 2008 guide came out; and Union Square Cafe happened to be named the most popular restaurant in New York City.


As usual, the food was good enough. But the restaurant resonated with all the heft of a neighborhood diner. Japanese businessmen at one table made a lot of noise; and at a table nearby some older folks with heavy Southern accents held their own boisterous court. Scattered about the Danny Meyer institution were quiet duos, trios and singles, eating and sipping.

Nothing spectacular, and, except for the bar, it wasn’t too crowded. We three got a table within five minutes.

Popular, yes? But most popular? Maybe we came on the wrong day.

Vibe Rater: Union Square Cafe, 21 East 16th Street