First Look at Our Kushiyaki Menu and a NEW VIDEO!

As preparations continue for our grand opening, we are pleased to announce yet another sneak peek behind the curtain: Our comprehensive Kushiyaki program, an ever-evolving menu of beef filets and chicken wings and lamb chops… and whatever else Chao can skewer and grill on our glorious, four-foot Robata Grill.



n. the formal term for all things skewered and grilled: meat, poultry, offal, vegetables and fish. Examples from Union’s opening menu: Jumbo Shrimp with kabanyaki black pepper + sesame, Lamb Chop with garlic-soy, and so on.



n. Translated as “around the fireplace,” this is a traditional Japanese grilling technique that takes
place over hot coals that are painstakingly maintained at 600° F.

To better prepare ourselves for the art of Kushiyaki, we looked to man’s long history with meat on a stick. It is a relationship that harkens back to man’s humble beginnings, and a story worth a few minutes of meat-filled reflection. And so, we give you our latest video…

We hope you enjoyed it.

HOW WE ROLL: The Final Three


Over here at Union/MCC headquarters, the month of February was unofficially sushi month. We had our How We Roll contest, put together a few videos showing you how Chao rolls, and even had a little mayoral sushi.

And then we got down to the real work: choosing our final three contestants. Now that–that was a challenge. After reading through pages and pages of some of the most bizarre, hilarious, and delicious-sounding rolls we’ve encountered, we’ve narrowed it down to a final three. These three rolls were chosen based on their creativity and, well, how good we think they’ll taste.

The three contestants below will be joining us for an exclusive, sneak peek dinner at Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar (before it’s open to the public) for the final judge’s table, and the winner will win a $500 Southwest gift card and a spot on our opening menu (which is coming together quite nicely, thank you for asking).

Without further ado, we give you the finalists…


Tammy Brody’s

Fried pork belly strips, hamachi, cucumber, orange tobiko, scallions, chili paste, crispy tempura crumbs and a zig-zag of eel sauce over the top. Served with pickled radish on the side.

Libby Christopoulos’

Hard boiled egg chopped in long strips, cucumber, mash cooked yolk, mayo, chipotle, diced sweet pickle and juice, salt, pepper and bacon.

Jason Gasbarra’s

Seared fois gras, tempura style lobster, grilled pear, micro greens. Garnish with masago and serrano aoli.

Sake: We Embrace It.

Our journey thus far has been perfectly complemented by a steady stream of sake. Sake’s been like an old traveling companion, slipping its way into photos and grinning with all its delicious intricacies.

It all began with our sake certification back in December, an immersive program and the catalyst for the months of sake tasting that followed (detailed below). We’re pleased to announce the culmination of those months of painstaking study: our comprehensive sake program at Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar.

Despite strides in the last decade (read: people discovered sake exists outside of the sake bomb), this thousand-year-old beverage is still very misunderstood. In our opinion, too many restaurants price their sake programs in a way that makes trial and experimentation unaffordable–ending the diner’s sake experience before it could even begin. That’s where Union comes in.


We are intent on encouraging our guests to pair sake with new flavor profiles – by the glass or the bottle – and helping them understand what sake is all about.

  • A selection of sakes from small producers across Japan, sourced during our month-long trip around Asia and priced for trial/experimentation.
  • A small reserve list for the sake connoisseur (just in case John Gauntner visits).
  • A mixology program featuring
    sake cocktails such as Night Scene (Cocchi Americano, Sake, North Shore Vodka, Combier Orange Liqueur, Orange Bitters) and The 16th Century (Shochu, Lemon, Ginger Liqueur, Sparkling Wine).


A Brief History of
Our Sake Consumption

Our sake sojourn began long before this blog, but here in MCC-world, it started with this post: Mike and Chao Become Sake Snobs. We spent a few strenuous days learning everything we could about sake from the Sake Evangelist himself, John Gauntner, and left as certified sake sommeliers.

After that, it’s kind of a blur: Sipping sake with Eric Swanson in Las Vegas, serving sake at our MCC popup dinner in Chicago, and then there was Asia. We drank sake for breakfast in Tokyo, enjoyed canned sake on a Japanese bullet train, and drank super-stealth (but altogether delicious) sake cocktails at Osaka’s famous Shukoujin.

And then there were the brewery tours: Masuichi-Ichimura in Nagano, Sookuu Brewery and Tsuki No Katsura in Kyoto, Daimon Sake Brewery in Osaka… And all of those experiences, those were just the highlights. Long story short, we’ve been living the sake life for quite some time, and we’re compiling the best of the best for our restaurant.