Dining Detectives: 31st Union Restaurant in San Mateo
We always enjoy dining on the Peninsula and normally go to Redwood City, Palo Alto or Half Moon Bay. We learned that a new restaurant, 31st Union, had just opened in San Mateo which featured ingredients and wines from California. It is a stylish cozy restaurant in Downtown San Mateo which celebrates the bounty of California, the 31st State in the Union. The interior features high ceilings, walls covered with rustic barn wood, large windows, country furniture, and a semi exhibition kitchen. They also feature a huge California Flag on one wall. There is indoor and outdoor dining, counter seating, as well as a communal table. The Comfort Food Menu created by Executive Chef Paul Burzlaff features small very shareable plates made with seasonal ingredients from California. The wines and beer are from California, as well.
Our first treat was the Trio of Deviled Eggs. The Smoked Paprika was our favorite but the Avocado and Tomato topped eggs were also quite tasty. We were told that the kitchen was flexible and that if you prefer, you can order all 3 of any of your favorite egg, which was good to know. Our next starter was a plate of delicious Golden State Spicy Chicken Wings in a delicious Asian style sauce. We were impressed by these wings as they were just slightly sweet and nice and messy. You must also have the Charcuterie which was thinly sliced and served with pickled onion, spicy tomato ketchup and toast points. We enjoyed the Salame Toscano which was mild and the Salametto Piccante, chorizo which was spicier. Next, we had a small lightly dressed Little Gem Salad with Applewood Bacon which was perfect between courses. Feel free to ask for additional dressing if you like. The Taft Street Sauvignon Blanc from Sebastopol was vibrant and fruity and paired really well with the starters.
The Small Plates are actually quite generous portions. We loved the Lamb Meatball Sliders with Romanesco Sauce and Arugula which were beautifully plated. Our other choice was the Grilled Hanger Steak which was prepared rare as ordered with Salsa Verde, Quinoa and Grilled Endive. The Hanger Steak with Quinoa was amazing because of the quality of the meat and the paring with the Quinoa. We can’t wait to go back and order it again!! We enjoyed a Red Flight of Wines that included three 3 ounce pours with our small plates. We chose the Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir which was our favorite. It was “On Tap” and served at the perfect temperature the winemaker recommends, which was cooler than normal. We also enjoyed the Yardstick, Ruth’s Vineyard Red and the Novy Napa Valley Syrah. We appreciated that each wine had a marker so we could easily see what we could compare and contrast and know what we were drinking.
The Desserts were right sized, delicious and definitely worthy of the calories! We loved both the House made Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich and the Strawberry Fruit Tart. In fact, we have been craving the Ice cream Sandwich ever since, so this is a must! We had a very enjoyable dinner at 31st Union Restaurant. The cuisine was delicious and you could tell that the ingredients were of the highest quality. The service was exceptional especially since they had only been open for a few weeks. They were quite busy and off to a very successful start. Currently they serve local Artisan Craft Beers, California wines including Keg Wines on Tap but by Labor Day, if not sooner, they will start to feature specialty Contemporary and Classic Cocktails when they roll out their Full Bar with premium liquors. 31st Union is open until midnight and has a Late Night Happy Hour which is great for those that want to stop in after the movies.
By Carol & Joe Davis
31st Union Restaurant
5 South Ellsworth Avenue
San Mateo, CA. 9