661 Northern Blvd, East Great Neck
(516) 487-9200 | unionprimesteak.com
Union is the newest tenant along steakhouse row on 25A in Great Neck and Roslyn. This prime steak and sushi spot where Burton and Doyle stood for years is a worthy addition to the area. It more than just holds its own with Morton’s, Peter Luger and Bryant & Cooper. Like those places the portions and the prices are formidable. Yet, despite the fact that there are fewer steak entrées (9) than seafood, chicken, duck and lamb (11) most people come to Union for the main event: steak. And it delivers.
The 35-day prime dry-aged beef selections are full bodied and generously portioned. My bone-in rib steak ($59) was a paragon of heft, juiciness and deep mineral flavor. A 24-ounce Kansas City steak ($59) was almost its equal. That those two robust red meat mainstays cost a total of $118 without any accompaniments are an indication that many steakhouses are too pricy for the average Joe.
Here, the only rosé wine, a modestly-priced selection on most wine lists, cost $99. Physically, Union looks the part too. It is bedecked with massive maroon pillars, vaulted ceilings, tufted back booths and constellations of crystal lighting. In its environs, it feels good to live like the 1 percent, if only briefly.
Two of the four diners at our table opted for non- beef alternatives and were rewarded. The rack of lamb with mint jelly ($49) was a tender, juicy, succulent creation and the stuffed shrimp oreganata in scampi sauce ($34) were the size and shape of golf balls because of their abundant crabmeat stuffing. That crabmeat blended nicely with the scampi sauce while its somewhat bready filler was more obvious in a Maryland crab cake appetizer ($19).
An impeccably prepared, tender, grilled octopus with admirable char ($22) was the most impressive starter sampled while three lobster sliders on pita bread loaded with meat, olives and gherkins ran second. Unfortunately, a chopped wedge salad ($12) harboring less than top- notch tomatoes was a bit sour from its buttermilk blue cheese dressing.
Odds are you will be flagging by meal’s end but no reputable steakhouse supporter skips dessert, especially at a restaurant like Union where they are absolutely huge. Both the circular, towering banana cream pie ($10) and the expansive apple crisp ($9) were best-of-breed selections, though the brownie sundae ($10) and crème brûlée ($9) were but a half step behind them. (I’m told that the warm cinnamon bun with a vanilla cream cheese frosting is Union’s featured dessert.)