This Restaurant Week, Social on State’s $25 dinner menu features both classic favorites and experimental originals. While the tapas spot usually presents a more flexible Restaurant Week menu, allowing diners to choose any three dishes off the menu instead of dividing the courses by category, this season’s menu divides its fare into appetizers, main courses and desserts. Despite the change, generous portions and a welcoming, social atmosphere still encourage sharing among friends, and the restaurant’s offerings are as innovative as ever.
A chic, spacious dining area furnished with geometric mirrors and a shimmering chandelier set the scene for an eclectic three-course meal of visually pleasing, daring and decadent dishes. For my appetizer, I tried the beet tartare, a painstakingly plated mound of geometric beet chunks. The beet structure was supported by a thin base of greens and ricotta cheese, surrounded by diced mango and topped with a sphere of cold mango puree. Even diners who usually shy away from beets might be pleasantly surprised by the dish — the typical earthy flavor was countered by a light honey and lemon zest glaze. The creamy ricotta, crisp greens and refreshing mango all contributed to an expertly balanced appetizer. A beet aficionado, I appreciated the restaurant’s attention to the vegetable’s flavor profile, which calls for a rich sweetness to elevate it from hearty staple food to culinary delight. My dining partner opted for the cream of mushroom soup, an inventive vegan option featuring coconut milk and mushroom “bacon.” While less showy than the beet dish, the soup was hearty, flavorful and nourishing.
My second course was far more conventional than the first, but just as well-executed. The restaurant’s entree menu features both upscale basics and trendier fare — a New York strip steak, for example, is offered alongside an ahi poke bowl. I ordered the mac and cheese, a perennial Restaurant Week favorite and mainstay on the restaurant’s permanent menu. Fancifully plated, the cascade of cavatappi flowed out from a small bowl onto a larger dish. The smoked gouda cheese sauce was subtle, homey and not too salty, and the cavatappi noodles were well-cooked and satisfying. Filling enough that I was able to bring some home, the entree fulfilled my highest expectations for a mac and cheese dish. My dining partner’s Tie-Dye Pizza was a burst of flavor, garlicky pesto mingling with sweet vodka sauce and creamy burrata cheese. While the restaurant does not feature any vegan entrees, vegetarians will be pleased to find that the macaroni and the pizza are both great choices.
The restaurant’s dessert menu features two options: the Campfire Chocolate Mousse and the Cheese for Dessert. My dining partner and I ordered one of each. The mousse was fluffy and predictably tasty, offering a unique spin on a classic dessert by employing a genuine campfire smokiness. The cheese option, though, was far more memorable. The dish featured a scoop of basil ice cream and a ball of burrata cheese nestled in a thick sauce of roasted strawberries and red wine. The ice cream was wonderfully novel, channeling the sweetness of basil while forgoing its usual herbiness. When paired with a mouthful of cheese and sauce, the flavor smoothly gave way to bold strawberry sweetness and the creaminess of the burrata. A sprinkling of peppercorns on the burrata also gave the berry sauce a much-needed bite when all three elements were savored together. While the ratio of strawberry sauce to dairy could have been lower — the sauce was overpoweringly sweet after a while —the bold flavors made for an unforgettable dessert reflective of the restaurant’s commitment to aesthetic bravery. While there’s a place for both picky eaters and adventurers at this spring Restaurant Week table, I’d advise diners to step out of their comfort zones — the experience is well worth it.