Union Trust lightens up

Union Trust (717 Chestnut St.) has had its share of drama of late, what with the departure of chef-partner Terry White and last week's installation of Jose Garces/Stephen Starr alum Kevin Sbraga to straighten out the kitchen with partner Ed Doherty.

Sbraga was there only three days -- as a consultant, he says -- and now he's gone, on his way to Solea, the Mediterranean attached to the new W Hotel in South Beach. He'll be exec chef when it opens June 3.

But what a productive three days.

He and Doherty went over White's bill of fare line by line and reorganized it. It goes on line Friday 5/8.

First thing you'll notice is that the "vertical steak tasting for four" has been bowdlerized. While its $500-for-four price tag set a shocking tone atop the previous dinner menu, it has been related to a sidebar on Page 2 and it now reads "$100 per person."

Sbraga contributed an herb-crusted halibut with tomato confit, capers and olives, and Doherty -- who set up the kitchens at Philly's Capital Grille and Water Works previously -- put on a pan-seared salmon with baby artichoke ragout and lemon oil. Overall, some prices have come down, such as the prime bone-in filet mignon, which was $60 on the previous menu and now sells for $55.

Side dishes no longer are larded with creams and fats. No more caviar.

They've added charcuterie -- a choice of three or five meats and cheeses. They've added a chicken dish; one of the mysteries of the previous menu was why there was none. And get this: UT no longer will charge for sauce, though there's a $2 charge for extra.