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EaterWire AM Edition: Silverman Opens Union Prime, Readies to Close Steak Frites

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UNION SQUARE— After two weeks of friends and family, Union Prime, Andrew Silverman's re-do of the failed 7 month-old Cafe Society is now soft open to the public with a planned official debut after the New Year. Once the new concept is off the ground, Silverman (owner of City Crab, City Lobster, and many more) tells us he plans to finally shutter the Deathwatched Steak Frites down in Hudson Square, a spot that has been languishing in its new location after its relocation last year. He plans to give it a new look, a new menu, and says it will become "one of five" concepts he's currently considering. But for now, a look at the third restaurant to live at 9 East 16th St. in the last 14 months:

Carleton Varney, a fairly major name in the design world, was in charge of the interior revamp, trading in the orange and green painted walls and space age lighting for a darker backdrop, hanging lights, and tilted mirrors galore. As one might surmise by those painted roses on the walls, the restaurant is explicitly meant to be female friendly, "a steakhouse but for ladies," (which we should note, is also STK's pitch). Hence the super sweet cocktails named "Little Devil", "Cats Meow", and "Oriental Express", a number of lady dates and couples at the soft opening, and a small group of women at the bar singing "Happy Birthday."

The focus is, again, steak and sushi, but there's a new chef on board—Brady Duhame—and the menu seems a bit more reigned in. Given it will be one of the few restaurants besides Coffee Shop open late night in Union Square and the prices aren't outrageous (aps $9-12, entrees $20-30, drinks under $10), it could find its niche, or in the least find a solid bar crowd. That said, this isn't exactly Brunster territory. We'll wait for the reports after the big debut in January.
· Rumormongering: Cafe Society to Reopen as Union Prime [~E~]
· EaterWire: Union Prime Names Chef [~E~]