After heading up the kitchen at Beverly Grove’s The Churchill, Bruce Kalman left last year to focus on pickles. It wasn’t the most obvious transition for a chef that had made a name for himself cooking casual Italian at downtown’s Urbano Pizza Bar. But now that Bruce’s Premium Pickles are sold at dozens of retailers and served at restaurants across the country, Kalman has time again to be in a restaurant. He’s partnered with Marie Petulla (an operations vet from Stout and Firefly) to open Union, a 50-seat restaurant and bar, in Old Town Pasadena.
Kalman will be riffing on Northern Italian and California cuisine in the rustic (exposed brick, cement bar, unfinished wood) space. His house-made charcuterie will be a feature, as will his artisanal pickles. He’s made an effort to incorporate heirloom grains and legumes into starters and main courses. Bread is served with giardiniere and cultured butter; Pacific sardines come with Rancho Gordo beans. In an over-the-top touch, the meatballs come topped with lardo. Among the house-made pastas, the Cavatelli is made with spelt. Spring lamb is served with locally stone-ground polenta.
Sommelier George Pitsironis has gathered a list of both domestic and imported wine and beer. Union opens for dinner tomorrow.
Union, 37 E. Union St., Pasadena, 626-795-5841 or unionpasadena.com