Monday night, my wife and I headed into NYC for a late dinner. Since opening this past Friday (March 11), I was eager to try Angelo Sosa’s new restaurant Social Eatz (232 East 53rd Street in NYC). If you’re a “TOP CHEF” fan, you’ll remember Angelo from “TOP CHEF D.C.” and “TOP CHEF ALL-STARS” . When we arrived at the restaurant, it was packed. We waited a few minutes for a table to be ready. The restaurant’s interior is extremely modern. They have a bar, but are currently waiting on the liquor license. I would consider the seating semi-communal.
When we arrived at our seats, we were presented with our menus. As I perused the menu, I was impressed with what Angelo was doing. He’s taken classic American staples and put an Asian spin of them, an awesome concept. The menu had everything from burgers to hot dogs to chicken wings to tacos. I wasn’t shy with my ordering. I ordered the Smoked Ribs & Hot Wings for an appetizer. For my main course, I order two burgers, the Bibimbap Burger and the Bulgogi Burger. My wife ordered the Korean Beef Tacos.
Smoked Ribs (“Asian soul food, St. Louis pork ribs marinated in mesquite-smoked tamarind, slow cooked to perfection. Comes in a pineapple bbq sauce laced with gochu-jang, an aged Korean pepper sauce.”)
After a few minutes, our server, who was super friendly and helpful, came out with our appetizers. No offense to all the Chinese restaurants out there, but these Smoked Ribs were the best I’ve ever had. I loved the sweetness that the pineapple BBQ sauce lent to these ribs. The ribs were smoked delicately, which allowed for sauce to really shine.
As were we enjoying the appetizers, Chef Sosa came to our table, introduced himself and presented us with his take on a hot dog called the Imperialist Hot Dog. I have to admit, I was impressed. The hot dog was made from organic chicken. It was topped with sweet and spicy relish. As Chef Sosa presented us with the hot dog, he poured an orange/yellow sauce over the hot dog. He said it was a sake cheese sauce. We thanked him for his generosity. I was excited to take a bite. And when I did, I was blown away. That sake cheese sauce put elevated that dish to unchartered territory. It was cheesy and tart and so damn good. I would go back just to drink the sake cheese sauce or at least dip some French fries into it.
Before our entrees came out, we were given two warm and wet wash clothes to clean up after the finger licking good appetizers. Both of my burgers were great. And I have to say, that they were cooked to a perfect medium rare; in my opinion, the best way to eat a burger. But I have to admit that the Bibimbap Burger was my favorite of the two. The slow cooked egg was unbelievable. It was warm and gooey and really added something special to that burger. I’ve had eggs on burgers before, but this one blows those other ones away. The pickled cucumber and carrots were also a nice accompaniment to the burger. My only complaint if you could call it one was that I felt the bun did not hold up to the greatest of the burger and its toppings. It got soggy very fast, which made the burger a bit of a challenge to eat. A challenge I was happy to conquer.
The Bulgogi Burger was cleaner and bit more “traditional”. It was kind of a palate cleanser after eating the Bibimbap Burger. I especially loved the cucumber kimchee on this burger. Crispy Fries came with both of my burgers. I thought they were perfectly cooked. They were crispy on the outside and light and puffy on the inside, the way a great French fry should be.
Bulgogi Burger (“Literally ‘fire meat’ in Korean, the beef charred, hence the name. Sauced with soy, sugar, scallion, garlic and sesame oil then garnished with cooled cucumber kimchee and Kewpee, a Japanese mayo.”)
I took a small bite of my wife’s taco and from what I could tell that was also a very solid dish. (I’ll have to try a taco on my next outing.) My wife said she enjoyed it. And I believe her, especially coming from her discerning palate.
I was pretty full at this point, but we couldn’t leave without trying one of the desserts. We opted for the Yuzu Cream Puffs because of their description as being “pillowy puffs”. I really liked the yuzu curd that was inside each cream puff. The curd was tart and sweet and reminded me a lot like lemon curd, although to me it was a bit tarter. Upon leaving, Chef Sosa came out, asked us how our experience was and thanked us for dining with him. I took the opportunity for a photo op. Chef Sosa was courteous and grateful. He is a hospitality professional in the truest sense of the word.
I was extremely impressed with my meal and look forward to making subsequent trips back to Social Eatz. The restaurant has a very reasonable price point, especially being located in NYC. They do not skimp on the portions or the quality of the ingredients. Enjoy!
232 East 53rd Street
Living to eat,
Note: The descriptions under the pictures come from the menu at Social Eatz.