Union Trust vs. Del Frisco’s: Battle of the Opening Bashes

Photo by HughE Dillon

Are any of you wondering what Union Trust, the $12 million steakhouse that is scheduled to open this Friday, might be like? How it might be different from the other two steakhouses in town located in former banks? Us too!

The entire staff of Foobooz attended the opening party on Saturday night, along with what may have been anywhere from 1,200 to 2,500 other people, and we’d love to tell you all of the details, but it was so crowded that it was impossible to discover anything useful about what the restaurant will be like in its normal state of operations. We can tell you that the restored ceiling is beautiful because it was the only thing we could get an unadulterated view of at this Philadelphia Rat Fuck.

Back in November, Foobooz attended the Del Frisco’s opening party, which was also packed to the gills and we thought it might be fun to do a compare/contrast of the special Philadelphia weirdness of both opening parties. Check it out after the jump.

The Decor
Del Frisco’s: soaring ceiling, a mezzanine with a bar, wine tower, private dining vaults, ice sculptures.
Union Trust: soaring ceiling, a mezzanine with a bar, marble-tiled floor paired with out-of-place industrial hotel carpeting that appeared to be temporary, private dining vaults, ice sculptures.

The Dress
Del Frisco’s: the prevailing dress code was turtlenecks, tweed jackets and toupees for the dudes, mid-level prostitute chic for the ladies.
Union Trust: the invite requested cocktail attire and one gentleman’s response to this was to wear a tuxedo that was trimmed in fur, and wraparound sunglasses. Whoever you are, Mr. Mink Tuxedo, we need more of you in Philly.

The Food
Del Frisco’s: lots of it and it was circulated frequently. Nothing blew us away, although the mini steak sandwiches were tasty.
Union Trust: hors d’oeuvres were circulating on trays, but it was so crowded that we were only able to snag a single crostini topped with what appeared to be an ounce of filet. We will say this: the meat was remarkable enough to make us consider investigating an entire steak once the joint finally opens. Art scored a pork sandwich by lurking near the kitchen and he says it was “subtle and juicy.” There was a raw bar of jumbo shrimp, but it was impossible to approach as it was being pecked to death by a rabid flock of squawking socialites. There was also a secret room of mini desserts.

The Drinks
Del Frisco’s: Sponsored vodka luges helmed by scantily clad ladies. Pineapple martinis. Veuve Clicquot.
Union Trust: Sponsored vodka luges helmed by scantily clad ladies. Sponsored Jack Daniels bar and dessert liqueur bar. Ran out of glassware. Ran out of ice. Ran out of sparkling wine and served moscato d’Asti instead. Aluminum bottles of Bud.

Celebrity Factor
Del Frisco’s: We saw none that we recognized, although there were supposedly some professional athletes; Dan Gross.
Union Trust: Art’s mom shook hands with Mayor Nutter on the street in front of the party. We were unceremoniously shoved out of the way by a tiny man with preternaturally smooth skin who turned out to be wee weatherman John Bolaris; Dan Gross.

Douchey Shenanigans
Del Frisco’s: Nothing out of the ordinary for Philly, vomit on the street just beyond the red carpet.
Union Trust: Alive and well. A man threw a cigarette at my shoe when we were standing outside. When I told him it was fine, I didn’t mind at all that he chucked a lit cigarette at my feet, he said, ‘It’s just a shoe” and walked away.

Charity Partner
Del Frisco’s: Project H.O.M.E.
Union Trust: Senior Adults for Greater Education

Recession Inappropriateness Factor
Del Frisco’s: During the party, slides were being projected on a wall of formerly homeless people that Project H.O.M.E., the event’s charity partner, had assisted. It was admirable that Del Frisco’s donated money to charity, but it somehow felt wrong that 1,200 people who could afford to pay for their food were gorging themselves for free underneath giant photographs of people who could really use the free food. I guess this is how charity events work, but the slideshow felt weird and kind of tone-deaf.

Union Trust: There was a DJ on the mezzanine and next to him were orchestra musicians playing violins along with the dance music. Except you couldn’t hear them, all you could see were the bows moving over their instruments, which seemed absurd and excessive and also brought to mind the mythical band playing on the Titanic as it sank.

Also, the restaurant purchased a $32,000 bottle of Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac which arrived by armored truck during the party and which they plan on selling for $1,500 a shot. Here’s a thought… why not take that $32,000 and hire someone who needs a job, since there is no one left who has an expense account that can pay $1,500 for an ounce of alcohol?

Union Trust [Official Site]
Del Frisco’s [Official Site]