SFReview

Listen up, ladies. It’s time to assemble the squad, be it a bevy of models Swift-style or your high school crew who can still execute the entire Darrin’s Dance Grooves routine. What’s the surest way to blast out the siren call and get the whole gang to show up? Wine and cheese. Union Larder, a wine bar with pretty great food in Russian Hill is broadcasting this signal loud and clear. The ladies love it, and we don’t blame them. (Full disclosure: I am also a lady.)

The space looks out over Hyde Street, and if you can manage to get a bar seat looking out on the street, the cable car-watching and people-watching scenes are excellent. The entire restaurant is bar seats, for which we are highly pro, but you can also end up standing around a bit awkwardly since it tends to get very, very crowded at peak times.

Besides the big windows taking up the whole wall facing Hyde, the other walls are covered in wine bottles or shelves of bread and cheese, with little other decor. That’s fine, but it doesn’t feel like the coolest, hippest place in town. The crowd is, as mentioned, 95% female, and it’s a place where moms go after the kids are asleep, grandparents go for date night, awkward dates go to test the waters, and a few bold dudes in v-neck sweaters and button downs go to try their luck at finding love. One pro of this is that you could very much show up in gym clothes and drink wine and eat meat plates and no one would judge you.

Union Larder’s food is standard issue wine bar, with a few actually exciting exceptions like uni pâté. Yes, you read that right. And we asked the same thing, why has no one done this before? It’s great. Anyway, the cheeses are all superb, the meats are great, and the assorted combinations of them in sandwich form are spot on as well. Salads are a little hit or miss, but let’s stop kidding ourselves and eat what we really came here for: bread and meat and cheese. Oh, and wine. The wine list is a little pricey, but we have yet to be disappointed by an order here.

So is Union Larder a place we’re obsessed with? No, but it’s a great spot to have in the neighborhood to grab a glass of wine and eat some great meat and cheese plates. Tell the squad, tie on your friendship bracelets, and set forth.

Food Rundown

Squash Salad

The prosciutto crumble, or as we humble folk like to call it, “bacon bits,” is the real star of the show here. The salad is a mix of pureed winter squash and summer squash, and it’s unexpectedly quite good.

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Union Larder Chef Salad

Great buttermilk dressing, but besides that, it’s an expensive cobb salad. And it’s also just really a meat and cheese delivery device. Just get a meat plate instead.

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Uni Pâté

I mean, come on. This is just shooting fish in a barrel around here. It’s awesome, provided you’re cool with eating a lot of sea urchin sexual parts. Which we are. Super unique – get it.

Meat Plate

They do not mess around with the portions, and we are shamelessly obsessed with the coppa here. MAGIC MEAT.

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Cheese Plate

If you order a cheese plate, Union Larder’s in-house cheesemonger will come over to your table and help you pick. It’s like a sommelier, but for cheese, and it’s awesome.

Burrata

We are 100% suckers for burrata. It is our kryptonite, and Union Larder delivers some classy cheese. This is good. The basil oil is really the kicker.

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Pork Reuben

The brie on this guy is an expected but pretty welcome twist. Again, they have incredible cheese, so the more stuff they put it on, the better things taste.

Grilled Cheese

Melty delight with a few types of cheese. We really dig the onion jam on this guy, but the bread can be a little overwhelming.

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