The perennially popular Union Square Cafe's trademark is its use of the freshest ingredients and high style combined with warm hospitality, and this book relies on the same principles. Owner Meyer and chef Romano successfully translate recipes from restaurant to home scale, although the use of mise-en-place -- listing ingredients in the form in which they will be used -- is off-putting (i.e., readers may find themselves in the supermarket trying to puzzle out how many peppers equal ""1 cup sliced bell pepper""). Still, all of those recipes tested, from creamless mushroom soup to sweet and spicy bar nuts, were tasty and inventive. Meyer and Romano have generously included most of their signature dishes, including fabulous fried calamari with an unusual graham cracker crumb crust and their most popular dessert, baked banana tart. There are some simple dishes here, but more are multitiered, full-day projects, like the lasagne layered with goat cheese and vegetables that are baked separately beforehand; detailed instructions are broken down into manageable steps. Introductory information is sensible and helpful, and the advice for pairing wines with food has to be some of the least pretentious -- yet still educational -- oenological writing ever. When Meyer admits that opening night was less than spectacular, he clinches the title of humblest restaurateur around. Destined to become a foodie bible, and with good reason.