31st Union is a gem among the rest of Downtown San Mateo, maintaining a farm to table menu with a San Francisco vibe. We found ourselves here for a birthday lunch during work one day – it was mostly empty during the day but is known to have large lines in the evenings.
This American eatery offered many dishes to choose from, ranging from sandwiches to burgers, salads to soups, even fish & chips and duck confit tostadas.
I ordered the Niman Ranch Brisket Sandwich, which came with cole slaw and Acme Ciabatta bread. While the bread was tough and hard to chew, the brisket was tender and the cole slaw was plentiful.
Other dishes included the Meatball Sub and the Fish & Chips, both also using local ingredients. The Meatball Sub had a smokey tomato sauce, and the fish in the Fish & Chips was beer battered in Lagunitas IPA, a local favorite, and served with herb salted french fries which were just the right amount of saltiness and fry-y-ness.
The Duck Confit Tostadas, however, were my favorite dish. The duck was flavorful and not too dry, and was covered in a slaw and a slightly spicy Jalapeno creme fraiche. They look more like tacos, but the shell was crispy, adding the perfect amount of salt and crunch to this savory dish.
At the end of the meal, the birthday girl had to of course have a dessert and be embarrassed by all of our singing – so we ordered the TCHO Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding – her favorite! The Bread Pudding was very soft and chocolately, feeling more like a moist cake with nuts and chocolate all over – a lot denser than most bread puddings I’ve had.
31st Union definitely exceeded my expectations, as I was not expecting to find a farm to table restaurant with good food and very hip, cute decor. The employees were all very pleasant, and the California pride made for a warm, comforting atmosphere.
If you’re looking to shy away from Asian food in the predominantly Asian restaurant cluster of San Mateo, I would recommend 31st Union and their Duck Confit Tostadas!
5 S Ellsworth Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401