New Lunch Menu at San Mateo’s 31st Union
31st Union in San Mateo, California, boasts a California chic ambiance of reclaimed barn wood and polished cement, floor-to-ceiling windows, Edison light bulbs under a high ceiling, and a communal table with bench seating. Now open for lunch, this popular Peninsula restaurant, adorned with the California Republic flag and a map of the 31st state with all the local food producers marked by colorful darts, highlights the bounty of California and lets all the sunshine in during its daytime working hours.
The menu is short but sweet; who has the time to ponder a multiple-choice list on a short lunch break? The good news: You can’t go wrong with anything here. Executive chef Paul Burzlaff focuses on healthy comfort food with seasonal ingredients, making a midday meal well-balanced, energizing, and as light or as hearty as you pick and choose.
The farm-to-table fare menu always includes a seasonal soup. Brightly colored and delicately seasoned carrot and pear soup-puree, served in a cup, is just one example of the chef’s creative approach to this lunch staple, which is exquisitely delicious and never to be missed.
House-cut fries with herbs and sea salt is another little indulgence that some people just can’t go without; they’re served in a toy zinc bucket with ketchup and aioli. Another wonderful comfort food staple turned gourmet treat is Bellwether Farms Carmody cheese grilled between two slices of artisanal bread and accompanied by tomato jam and micro greens. Bacon is optional, but who doesn’t know that everything is better with bacon?
Pork belly tacos are topped with some wonderfully fresh radicchio and cilantro slaw, spiced up to perfection by just the right amount of harissa and shaved jalapeno.
A weekly braised meat sandwich comes on a grilled Acme Bakery roll. It can contain juicy pulled pork, topped with crunchy frisée and pickled red onions, cutting gently into the warmth and chewy texture of meat.
No matter how much you eat at 31st Union, it is impossible to leave without dessert. Acme chocolate pecan bread pudding with caramel bourbon sauce and crème fraîche is only rivaled by the real vanilla bean ice cream from Romolo’s, a local San Mateo confectioner.
Lunch is served at 31st Union on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 31st Union bar offers a selection of contemporary, classic, and original cocktails; local artisanal craft beers; and a California wine list that include a dozen keg wines on tap—six white and six red. A Happy Hour menu, available Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to close, features a select wine and beer of the week for $5 and four to six food items, each priced at $5.
31st Union is located at 5 South Ellsworth Avenue in San Mateo, California. The restaurant is open for dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Call (650) 458-0049 for reservations or visit the website.