17. Urban Union

Why would a restaurant opened in 2012 slap "est. 1997" on its menu? Our perfect waiter—upbeat, nonintrusive, informative—explained that that's when Shrader and Jason Chan (the manager) met. Clever. Mr. Wonderful then asked if we had theatre or sports tix and were in a rush. With nowhere to go, we settled in for hunky marrow bones (Hey, are these from Bedrock?), tender lemony grilled octopus, bright minty faro-arugula salad, and out-of-Italy pancetta-laced pasta. But except for the sticky date pudding, desserts were so-so, and while the wine list was nice, cocktails seemed to be by request only. Décor is edgy, especially the weird backlit billboard with fortune cookie-style messages, such as "Do what you like and do it often." A bit subtler than "Eat Here."

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Price symbols indicate the typical cost of a meal (without tax, tip, or alcohol) per person.
¢ … under $20 | $ … $20 to $29 | $$ … $30 to $39 | $$$ … $40 to $49 | $$$$ … $50-plus