With all of the hubbub of buying a house and spending a week in Virginia, it had been a hot minute since we’d had a date night in OKC. So we got a little gussied up on a Tuesday night for dinner at Union Wood Fired Grill.
Union is a new concept by Chef/Owner Jonas Favela. If the space looks familiar, you’re not imagining things. The restaurant was originally known as the Meat Market Refectory when it first opened as a joint restaurant and meat shop. My sister-in-law actually did a guest post about it a couple years ago. The meat market didn’t quite catch on, so they eventually rebranded as MMR Prime Steakhouse, until changing things up again recently and opening Union Wood Fired Grill.
I appreciate when a restaurant is willing to pivot in order to give customers exactly what they want. With Union, they’ve honed some of the successful elements of MMR and updated their offerings to create a fun and approachable dining experience. The new menu is refreshingly diverse, setting it apart from other steak-centric menus around the city. Union Wood Fired Grill provides cuisine from around the world, from Mexican to Italian and beyond.
As with any proper date night, we started with cocktails. I had the Bay City Kitty and Tom the traditional Old Fashioned. The Bay City Kitty is an aromatic vodka-based cocktail. It was a little sweet, a little tart and quite refreshing. I loved the presentation as well, with a little carafe of the mixture on ice.
The appetizer menu at Union is tantalizing, with several dishes hearty enough to serve as a meal. We decided to start on the lighter side with the red snapper ceviche.
This Peruvian-inspired dish was nice and bright, with lush acidity and fresh, tender snapper. It was served with chips, but tasty enough to eat on its own.
While Meat Market Refectory was a carnivore’s dream, veggie lovers are fully taken care of at Union Wood Fired Grill. There are six meat-free salads to choose from (though protein can be added) along with three vegetarian entrees. We tried the beet and goat cheese salad and the Thai salad, easily meeting our vegetable quota for the day.
The beet and goat cheese salad was incredible. Beet salads are on pretty much every restaurant menu these days, but Union sets theirs apart with the addition of pistachios and pistachio butter – which is every bit as fabulous as it sounds. The Thai salad was a bit more basic, but packed some heat via sliced jalapeños.
We really could have stopped there, having already tasted dishes inspired by Peru and Thailand along with one of my favorite salads of 2018. But in the name of research, we kept on eating.
The entrees were just as appealing as the starters, with options like lobster tagliatelle and boneless short ribs. I was really intrigued by the shrimp poblano and after hearing it endorsed by our helpful server I couldn’t pass it up.
The fork-tender poblano pepper is stuffed with jasmine-ginger rice, topped with tomato and shrimp over a rich mole sauce. I really enjoyed this dish, especially the combination of the rice with the mole.
Tom went with the sous vide lamb served with a sweet potato hash and salsa rojo.
After the lamb is cooked sous vide, it’s finished on the wood fired grill – a technique that allows for a juicy cut of meat with a nice, smoky flavor.
Because our entrees both featured Mexican-inspired ingredients, our server was kind enough to bring a complimentary order of their elotes for us to try. These elotes, or Mexican street corn, were awesome! They’re usually served with the short rib entree, but we recommend ordering them no matter what!
As if that wasn’t enough food, our server talked us into sampling the brioche bread pudding as well. This dessert has been around since Meat Market Refectory first opened and has stuck around for good reason. It is divine.
And with that, we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant. We loved the creative and diverse cuisine at Union Wood Fired Grill as well as the sexy interior perfect for a date night. I also really appreciated that vegetarians, pescatarians and hard-core meat eaters alike can dine like kings at this new concept. We will be back for more pistachio butter, elotes and bread pudding!