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Bites Nearby: Pub Fare at Union Station Brewery

Upscale pub fare and beers brewed in house.

It's been a while since I've been a regular somewhere. It's a good feeling to walk in somewhere and be be welcomed by someone who recognizes you. The main reason that I'm not a regular somewhere currently is financial - the cost of going out adds up quick.

However, if I were to become a regular somewhere, it would be somewhere like Union Station Brewery in Providence. Over the years, my wife and I have been here probably around ten times. Their food is pub fare with a little extra class than what comes to mind when one thinks of bar food. Amy and I ate here again a couple of days ago after thinking for way too long about where to write about next. Our meal and experience was right in line with all the other times we've been there, which is a good thing. 

It was a hot day, and when we walked up the the front, we were deciding between outdoor seating and something inside. If you've read my reviews with some consistency, you'll know I'm generally a sucker for outdoor seating, but this particular night, we opted for the comfort of the air conditioning and passed over the outdoor seating. I think it was a little bit of a mistake. I ended up being cold inside, and I think that if we had sat down outside I would have cooled off nicely with the delicious blueberry beer that they had on special. The restaurant was pretty quiet for a Tuesday night and we were promptly led to a booth right near the window. 

The first task at hand was looking at their list of beers brewed in house. If my memory serves, there were about six to choose from. Listed from lightest to darkest on the menu. We didn't have to look far. Amy and I both ordered the "brewberry" blueberry beer on special. I'm a big fan of blueberry beer. The two typically seen in the region are the Wachusett blueberry and Sea Dog Brewery in Maine has a nice blueberry beer. The blueberry lager at Union Station was a perfect mix of blueberry flavor and beer taste. Probably a better balance than either of the two brands just mentioned. It came with fresh blueberries in the glass too! With the exception of a few floating stragglers, you need to wait till the last sip to get a mouthful of blueberries at the end. What a nice treat at the bottom of the beer! 

While looking over the menu, we noticed some familiar and unfamiliar specials. Having been to Union Station more than a couple times now, we've definitely ordered more than half the items on the menu. This time we started with the quesadilla. It was filled with smoked chicken that Amy thought had a little too much smoke to it, but I thought it was great. It did kind of remind me of a camp fire, so I can understand why the smoke flavor may be too heavy for some. Another appetizer that we've enjoyed previously is the spinach artichoke dip. While making our way through the blueberry beer and quesadilla, we were brought some focaccia bread and olive oil. The bread is just a touch oily and topped with a great combination of salt and seasonings. Its really good and one needs to be careful not to fill up on the bread. 

For our entrees, Amy went with a chicken caesar salad and I went with something from the specials menu, the fajita steak burrito. On this visit, our entree's were fair and consistent with the level of quality that we've come to expect from Union Station. Amy ordered the dressing on the side of the salad. Its hard to tell whether it was necessary. Some places overdo the dressing and she wasn't in the mood to be disappointed with a way over dressed salad. The chicken was plentiful and sliced thin and flat, an interesting approach to a salad that could be trypical and boring in many cases. The steak fajita burrito was a little lacking in the steak department, but otherwise was very satisfying. Other winners from previous visits include the chicken pot pie, meatloaf, and fish and chips. The burgers are great too. 

The Union Station Brewery has lots of specials and events to attract new customers and give existing customers a reason to come back. One of our favorites is Wednesday's trivia night. I'm not claiming to be the smartest guy out there, but trivia is always a fun test of pop culture knowledge and speed of recollection. The more people sitting at your table the better you chances of placing high for prizes. They do several rounds with a round consisting of a series of questions. Think of your clever team name in advance. They offer great prices on happy hour (3 to 7 p.m.) and late night (10 11 p.m. weeknights, 11 to 12:30 on weekends) food items. Prices are resaonable at Union Station and are in line with what one would expect from somewhere selling beer brewed in house and nice pub fare. Our bill for an appetizer, two entrees, and three beers came to about $66 including tip. Our most recent visit was just as good as all of our previous visits and we'll definitely be going back soon. Maybe we'll see you on a Wednesday.

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