Simple Gourmet Fare at RIS @ Union Market

Small Bites

A look at some of the chef’s larder and delicious prepared foods now available at RIS at Union Market. Photo: Allison Cortese

Sometimes when I’m hungry and tired, and maybe bristling from a chilly walk home from work, all I want is good, simple comfort food. But what makes comfort food… comforting? Good comfort food will evoke that nostalgic feeling of a warm home-cooked meal from childhood – and is extra comforting when it is cooked by someone else.

Such is the type of effortlessly tasty food that the new RIS @ Union Market stall excels at. Chef Ris Lacoste has the rare gift of making gourmet food both delicious and accessible. Offering a combination of hot soup, snack, and cold salad “RIS bowls” that one can walk around the market with, and various prepared stocks, sauces, entrees, sides, and baked goods that one can bring home for an instant restaurant-quality meal, the stall is set to be a very popular stop in the increasingly bustling Union Market.

RIS bowls will change weekly – I had the opportunity to try the clam chowder; rich and delicately creamy (I am told there is an extra dollop of butter involved right at the end), as well as a wonderful Jamaican curried goat stew that was fragrant with spices and had just the right amount of heat to warm a body up without overpowering the flavor (bring it on, Polar Vortex). Other hot bowls will include such items as sweet potato bourbon soup and venison chili with winter red berry compote, and cold bowls on the menu include green papaya and rice noodle salad, and a classic cob salad.

The prepared foods do not disappoint (and it’s refreshing to see something other than beer and artisanal cocktails in mason jars) – the chunky onion jam would go wonderfully on top of a burger or over crostini with melted cheese. The champagne vinaigrette is at once familiar but also one of the best dressings I have had in a long time; I doubt I could replicate it. The chunky tomato eggplant sauce has perfect acidity, and a surprising (but certainly not unwelcome) kick to it.

However, the hands-down, most amazing item I sampled was the soft, rich chocolate macaroons. These are the kind of thing you dare your friends to eat just one. It’s near impossible. Dusted with powdered sugar, you won’t care that it’s also dusting your shirt as you bite into this little dollop of pure chocolately heaven.

The unfussy gourmet fare hits the mark, and makes a great addition to what’s on offer at Union Market.


Visit RIS's Facebook page for the lastest food offerings.

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